Self-Assessment – filing your tax return on time

Tax Return 2013

Filing on time

With the filing deadline of 31 January fast approaching for self-assessment, there has recently been published the 10 oddest excuses for sending in a late return.  The highlights of these run from ‘my goldfish died’, ‘my wife won’t give me my mail’, ‘I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht’ and from an accountant ‘I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns’.


HM Revenue & Customs accept reasonable excuses for late filing with some examples such as a failure in the HMRC computer system, problems with the preparer’s computer, a serious illness or not receiving the activation code in time.  However these are just examples and each case will be considered individually. HMRC would still need to see a reasonable effort has been made to meet a deadline.


In normal circumstances, the penalty for late filing of the tax return is an initial fine of £100, even if there is no tax to pay or the tax due is paid on time.  After three months, an additional daily penalty of £10, up to a maximum of £900, applies.  After 6 months a further charge of £300 is imposed ,or 5% of any outstanding tax, whichever is greater.  There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid after 30 days, 6 months and a year.

If you have any queries or concerns, please contact our tax experts