4 January 2017
Most people who are required to complete a self-assessment tax return will be aware of the 31 January deadline, a date that has now been an annual focal point for taxpayers and their accountants for more than 20 years. However, it is surprising how many people still miss the deadline for filing their return or paying their tax. In 2014 the official number of late filers was 890,000, and it is thought that this increased to over 900,000 in 2015 and 2016. At £100 per return (the minimum charge) this represents £90m, and it could be much more as the penalties increase for returns that are received by HMRC more than 90 days late.
The penalty is automatically £100 even if you owe no tax but, if you decide to appeal, there are reasonable excuses which will be considered including; the death of the taxpayer or a close relative, last-minute computer failure, problems with HMRC’s online filing service, floods and fire. However, excuses such as lack of money, relying on someone else to complete the return or not coping with HMRC’s online filing system will be rejected. It goes without saying that it is easier to file and pay the tax than to lodge an appeal.
If we are doing the return on your behalf, you will by now have received several reminders. We will do our best to beat the deadline for you, but please give us the best chance of achieving this by letting us have the information NOW.