Is there any way to avoid the penalties if I send my Tax Return in late?
You have to have what is considered to be a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing the deadline. There are no fixed rules on this, but usually any delay must be due to an exceptional or major unexpected event that’s completely outside your control. Some examples of what HMRC may consider as a ‘reasonable excuse’ include:
- Documents being lost through theft, fire or flood leaving you unable to replace them in time.
- Life-threatening illness, for example a heart attack or an extended hospital stay which prevents you dealing with your tax affairs on time.
- The death of a partner shortly before the filing date – where possible, you may need to demonstrate that you had taken steps to prepare the return on time before this happened.
- Long term industrial action by Royal Mail.
- Problems with the online filing service, where no alternative option was available – for this, you’ll need to provide copies of any error messages you received, so take ‘screen grabs’ using Ctrl/Print Screen wherever possible.
If you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ then you can ask for the penalty to be reconsidered, and HMRC will look at the information you provide, and any other evidence that’s available, in detail. But don’t wait until you receive the penalty notice, instead make any claim as soon as you possibly can.
Get the latest contractor news and offers delivered directly to your inbox
We’d like to keep you updated by email. We will never share or sell your data with anyone without your permission