Reasonable Excuse

If you want to appeal a fine for submitting or paying your tax return late, you will need a reasonable excuse for HMRC. HMRC only accepts severe reasons for failing to submit or pay your tax returns on time. Some potentially acceptable reasons include:

  • You or someone in your immediate family died around the tax deadline
  • You were in the hospital
  • The HMRC website didn’t work on that day
  • The postal service  made a mistake or had a delay
  • A fire, flood, or some other disaster prevented you from completing your tax return on time

It’s still essential that you submit your tax return or pay your tax bill as soon as possible, or else HMRC will not believe that you ‘did all you could’ to resolve your taxes on time. You may then be faced with heavy fines or penalties.

late filing penalty is a fee charged by HMRC if you file your tax return late. As you might expect. The penalty varies depending on whether you’re a sole trader or whether you run a limited company.

The late filing penalty as a sole trader

Here are a few important things to bear in mind when it comes to paying your Self Assessment tax return:

  • There is a separate fine for registering as self-employed late and paying your tax bill late, and they get added up
  • You pay interest when you pay late
  • You’re fined for filing late even if you owe no money in taxes, but had to file for another reason, for example, if you were already registered for Self Assessment
  • The late penalty starts at £100 if you’re a day late and it can increase all the way to £1,600 for a whole year.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you help me to maintain my own accounting records?

    Of course! We advise that you start a comprehensive spreadsheet to keep track of your taxable income and relevant expenses throughout the year in order to make your tax return more straightforward. This can be done on an Excel spreadsheet or Google sheet to keep things simple! Contact our team for more advice today!

  • When do I need to file my Self Assessment by?

    If you are a self-employed contractor, remember to file your Self Assessment by 31st January the year after the tax year you’re paying for. For example, if you’re paying your 2023/2024 tax return, this should be paid by 31st January 2025.

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