Nearly one million people in the UK have missed the tax return deadline.

Nearly one million people in the country have missed the 31st January deadline for their tax returns online. This means that they will be automatically issued with a £100 late filing penalty which needs to be paid, unless they have a genuine reason for lateness or not filing. To clarify, this fine is for not filing your tax return on time and applies regardless of whether or not any tax was actually due and it will increase after a period of 3 months.

If this was you, here is what happens next.

You will receive a letter from HMRC notifying you of the late filing penalty and how to appeal. If you have a genuine reason for lateness or not filing your tax return, you can ask for the fine to be annulated, the appeal documents will come attached with your late penalty letter.

First and foremost, you will have to file your tax return or notify HMRC that you do not need to complete one. You cannot start your appeal process until this part is out of the way and the longer you delay it, the higher the chance you will incur extra fines which you will have to pay if your appeal is not successful. The HMRC list several potential examples of what falls under a reasonable excuse for lateness and what does not.

Reasonable excuse for late tax return according to HMRC:

  • 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 could not have predicted
  • delays related to a disability you have

Here is what does not fall under a reasonable excuse for lateness:

  • you relied on someone else to send your return and they did not
  • your cheque bounced or payment failed because you did not have enough money
  • you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
  • you did not get a reminder from HMRC
  • you made a mistake on your tax return

If you are appealing, you do not have to pay the penalty until a decision is reached.

Here at Ivybridge Accountants we have a dedicated team of experienced professionals who will work with you to ensure that your returns are delivered on time. We can help you in many finance, tax and bookkeeping matters so that you can focus on what you do best – running and growing your business. Speak to us now and see how we could help.