What is a reasonable excuse for filing your tax return late?

Further to our last post with some outrageous excuses for not submitting your tax return, here we will examine what exactly does constitute a reasonable excuse in the eyes of HMRC. 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 is possible to appeal against any penalty if you have 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 (as well as a few others outlined in out last post). 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.

Source: HMRC | 02-02-2018