Self Assessment Deadline

So you’ve missed the Self Assessment deadline, what happens next?

31st January has passed, and with that another Self Assessment season has come to an end, but for those who didn’t get their Tax Return to HMRC in time, what happens to them?

First we have the automatic penalty - £100 fine on 1st February if not filed.  It is a set penalty, there’s nothing knocked off if you file at 12:01am on 1st February, and nothing added on if you file 2 years later.   If the Tax Return is still not filed 3 months after the deadline (30th April), HMRC can impose another penalty, £10 per day for a maximum of 90 days.  By this point, the individual could have received £1,000 worth of penalties purely for late filing!

The penalties don’t stop there…

  • 6 months late (31st July) – 5% of any tax liability that would be shown on the return, or £300 if greater
  • 12 months late (following 31st January) – the penalty above will be charged again
  • 12 months late (optional increase of penalty) – the 5% used to calculate the 12 month penalty can be increased up to 100% if HMRC think you are deliberately hiding information from them!

In addition to these penalties for late filing, interest can also be charged for late payment of your tax liability so the total penalties are increasing each day.

HMRC can waive penalties which have been imposed on an individual if they are given what they call a ‘reasonable excuse’.  So if the dog ate your paperwork, I wouldn’t advise ringing HMRC will help you in any way, neither would telling them you had a cold otherwise half the country could probably get away with that one too!

The following are what HMRC allow as a reasonable excuse:

  • Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the Tax Return filing or payment deadline
  • You had an unexpected stay in hospital which prevented you from dealing with your Tax Return or you had a serious or life threatening illness
  • Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your Tax Return or there were service issues with HMRC’s online services
  • Fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your Tax Return
  • Unpredicted postal delays meant your Tax Return reached HMRC late

Although these ‘reasonable excuses’ allow people who have dealt with situations that are unexpected or out of their control, the individuals will still have to complete their Tax Returns and pay their tax liabilities should they have one as soon as possible after their reasonable excuse is resolved.  For everyone else who’s ‘accountant has been ill’, any liability simply needs to be paid as soon as possible to avoid further penalties and interest.

Written by
Rebecca Coward, Trainee Tax Assistant

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