This time of year can come around all too quickly for some individuals required to complete a self assessment tax return.   If you don’t submit your return by midnight on the 31st January, then HMRC will class the return as late, and penalties will be applied as follows;

·       An immediate £100 fine for submitting your tax return after 31st January.

·       After 3 months, you’re charged £10 for each additional day (capped at 90 days), plus the £100 initial penalty, to a maximum of £1,000.

·       After 6 months, an additional £300 fine, or 5% of the tax due, plus the above penalties.

It’s also worth noting that if you are part of a partnership, all partners can be charged a penalty if the partnership tax return is filed late. 

Just bear in mind though that a late tax return doesn’t always automatically mean time to panic.  HMRC have strict filing deadlines, but they are not unreasonable.  If you have a reasonable excuse for missing the self assessment deadline, you could be granted an extension.  The important point to note is that you should deal with the return promptly, either yourself, or by seeking professional advise from an advisor.

HMRC have recently published a list of some of the quirkier excuses received from taxpayers over the years;

1.     My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)

2.     I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)

3.     After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)

4.     My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)

5.     My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)

6.     I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)

7.     My bad back means I can’t go upstairs.  That’s where my tax return is (a working tax driver)

8.     I’ve been cruising around the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)

9.     Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)

10.  I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant)

Unsurprisingly, when these individuals appealed late filing penalties with HMRC, they were unsuccessful.

If you require any assistance or advice relating to this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your usual contact, or by email;