The January 31 tax return deadline is coming up. Those who miss will automatically receive a £100 penalty.
If you need more time to file, you are in luck. There are some ‘reasonable’ exceptions HMRC will accept.
Obviously, the best option is to finish your taxes on time. HMRC will be keeping its toll-free telephone service lines open at 0300 200 3310 from 8am to 4pm on Saturday, to assist taxpayers as well.
Even if you are filing late, you should estimate how much you owe and tell HMRC what has happened as soon as possible. Don’t wait for them to send you a penalty notice. Fill in a claim form and let them know.
So what counts as a ‘reasonable’ excuse? Here are some examples:
- 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
- service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
- a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
- postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
Remember HMRC will take strict action if it concludes you are at fault for missing the deadline. It’s important that you not only show proof of your situation, but also demonstrate that you made an effort to overcome your problems.
There will be no leniency for taxpayers who found HMRC’s online tax portal too difficult to use or left it too late to register for details. You will automatically incur a penalty of £100.
After 3 months, a £10 daily charge will kick in up to a 90 day maximum of £900. This will be followed by further penalties at 6 and 12 months. If this addles your brain, read these 9 facts about HMRC's late SA filing and payment penalties.
If in doubt, speak to your accountant or contact HMRC to explain your situation.