May 5, 2020 NB Accounting Services Limited

Reasonable Excuses For Late HMRC Tax Return Filing

You can appeal against some HMRC penalties if you have a reasonable excuse for your late tax return or payment being late.

What may count as a reasonable excuse?

A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet.

For example:

  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • delays related to a disability you have
  • service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • postal delays that you could not have predicted
  • currently, HMRC will also consider coronavirus (COVID-19) as a reasonable excuse for missing some tax obligations (such as payments or filing dates).

In your appeal explain how you were affected by one of the above reasons.

Do not forget, that you still must send your return or / and payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.

What will not count as a reasonable excuse?
  • your cheque bounced or payment failed because you did not have enough money
  • you relied on someone else to send your return and they did not
  • you did not get a reminder from HMRC
  • you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use.

For the most ridiculous excuses which were not accepted by HMRC, read here.

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