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Are You Prepared For The Self-Assessment Deadline?

The deadline for filing your 2018/19 self-assessment tax return online is 31st January 2020. It is not normally possible to get an extension to the filing deadline. 

Regardless of how you filed your tax return, any outstanding tax must be paid by 31st January 2020.

What are the penalties for late tax returns?
If HMRC asked you to complete a tax return for 2018/19 and you miss the deadline, you will automatically be fined regardless of how late the return is, even if there is no tax liability for the year. 
The penalties currently are as follows:

  • 1 day late - Automatic fixed penalty of £100; even if you have no tax to pay or you have paid the tax you owe on time.
  • 3 months late - £10 per day up to a 90 maximum of £900.
  • 6 months late - £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher. 
  • 12 months late - £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher. In serious cases, you may even be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due instead. 

These penalties are in addition to one another, so the minimum late filing penalty for a tax return that is 12-months late will be upwards of £1,600 depending on the tax liability. 

My tax return is overdue, what should I do?
Firstly you need to consider if the tax return is required or if you have a legitimate reason for the delay:

Cancelling the request for a tax return
If you think you are not required to submit a tax return, you should telephone HMRC and get the request for a tax return revoked. If HMRC agree, you do not need to file a return, and any penalties issued for missing the filing deadline should be cancelled.

Reasonable and unreasonable excuses for late Tax Returns
If you file your return after the deadline and have a good reason for the delay, you may be able to appeal against any penalties. 
HMRC lists common examples of Reasonable Excuses on its website, including:

  • 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
  • Service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) 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

However, the following aren’t usually accepted as a reasonable excuse:

you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t

you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use

you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC

you made a mistake on your tax return

If you've missed the deadline, file your tax return as quickly as possible

If the request for the tax return can't be withdrawn and you don't have a reasonable excuse,you should ensure you file your tax return as soon as is practical- even if you can't afford to pay your tax liability on time. The late filing penalties will increase the longer the delay.

How long do I have to change my tax return? 
If you make a mistake on your tax return, you can amend it, but you must file your amended tax return by 31st January 2021 for the 2018/19 tax year.

How we can help
Should you require any assistance regarding your 2018/19 tax return, please do not hesitate to contact us.