Are you going to miss the 31st January deadline?
Are you going to miss the 31st January deadline?
Your tax return must be filed and any tax liability settled by 31st January. What happens if you haven’t, and are there any acceptable excuses for a late return?

By Stephanie Stock, Accountant at Hive Business

It’s that time of year again and tax return deadlines are looming. Your tax return must be filed and any tax liability settled by 31st January. Hopefully, this is not news to you and you have both filed your return, (or had confirmation from your advisor that it has been filed,) and paid your dues. But what happens if you haven’t, and are there any acceptable excuses for a late return?

If you do not file your return by the 31st January you will receive a fine for £100. You have 30 days from this point to settle the liability, plus the fine, or you will be charged a further 5% of the tax due. After 90 days from the date the return should have been filed HMRC will then impose a £10 a day charge for the late amount, you can imagine how quickly that can add up!

As an accountant, I hear many reasons why people have not got their returns filed on time, there is always a reason! But which ones do HMRC accept as a ‘reasonable excuse’?

  • The death of a partner or close relative shortly before the deadline
  • 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 HMRC’s 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

Although the above list may count as a ‘reasonable excuse’ you must have taken reasonable care to try and meet the deadline, the above list is not a get out clause, it is examples that HMRC will consider.

The best way to avoid late filing and payment is to be prepared, get your information in early, know early what your tax liability is, then make a plan to save for it so you have funds to settle it by 31 January.

Get in touch if you would like to discuss how you can switch to Hive Business on 01872 300232 or email [email protected]

Stephanie Stock
By Stephanie Stock Accountant
If you have any questions or comments about this article, please get in touch.
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