Self assessment tax returns

The deadline for filing your Self Assessment tax return online and paying any tax you may owe is 31 January 2016.


You’ll get a penalty if you need to send a tax return and you miss the deadline for submitting it or paying your bill.
You’ll get a penalty of £100 if your tax return is up to 3 months late. You’ll have to pay more if it’s later, or if you pay your tax bill late.
You can appeal against a penalty if you have a reasonable excuse.


What may count as a reasonable excuse:
A reasonable excuse is normally something unexpected or outside your control that stopped you meeting a tax obligation. For example
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.


You must try and send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.


HMRC has revealed what it says are the top 10 worst excuses for failing to submit tax returns on time:

1. My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
2. I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
3. My accountant has been ill
4. My dog ate my tax return
5. I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file
6. My laptop broke, so did my washing machine
7. My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log-in details to complete my return online
8. My husband ran over my laptop
9. I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years
10. I had a cold which took a long time to go


The excuses were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late returns.


For more information on the topic, please contact Andrew Loftus.