Reasonable excuse for late filing of your tax return

Taxpayers that have not yet filed their 2016-17 self-assessment returns will have been charged an automatic £100 penalty for late submission. The penalty applies from 1 February 2018 even if no tax was due or the tax due was paid on time.

In some cases, it can be possible to appeal against any penalty on the grounds of having a good reason for sending in a late return. However, taxpayers must have what is known as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for filing a self-assessment return late had and ensured that the return was sent in as soon as possible following the deadline.

HMRC’s guidance lists the following examples of what may count as a reasonable excuse:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
  • issues with HMRC online services
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
  • delays related to a disability you have

However, not receiving a reminder or making a mistake are amongst the reasons not counted as reasonable excuses. There are further penalties as time goes on and we would urge anyone who still has not filed their self-assessment return to do so as soon as possible. If we can help in any way, please get in touch.

Posted in Income Tax

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