Did you know that HMRC estimates that almost half a million small businesses and self employed individuals miss the Self Assessment deadline every year? If this sounds like you, you will already be well aware of the penalties that HMRC impose for delayed returns, and you may well be wondering how best to avoid the immediate £100 penalty and get back in the good books of the taxman.

HMRC publish every January a list of weird and wonderful excuses they receive from late filers, which makes for good reading; one Self Assessment taxpayer blamed their late tax return on a curse, while a carpenter tried to expense £900 for a 55 inch TV and a sound bar!

So what does HMRC consider a reasonable excuse for late filing?

HMRC consider a reasonable excuse when“some unforeseeable or unusual event beyond your control has prevented you from filing your return on time”.

Examples include:

  • A failure on HMRC’s part, including breakdown of their computer system which stops you from filing on time
  • If your computer breaks down just before or while preparing your tax return
  • If you have a serious illness, disability or serious mental health condition that makes you incapable of filing your tax return
  • If you have recently registered for HMRC Online Services and are still waiting to receive for your Activation Code, which is needed to complete and submit your return online

This is by no means an exhaustive list of excuses accepted in the past by HMRC.  HMRC will not be lenient with you if they believe you are at fault for missing the deadline, so it is important to show proof of your situation as well as demonstrate that you have made an effort to overcome the situation. HMRC will, however, take each excuse on merit and decide whether it is ‘reasonable’ or not.

HMRC accept contact directly if you would like to explain your circumstances to them in detail.  If in doubt, you can contact us to help you work with HMRC on your behalf and help you submit your tax return as soon as possible, so you do not face additional penalties down the line.

We take the pain out of Self Assessments

At Mirandus Accountants, we understand what it is like to be a small business owner, as we are a small business ourselves.  As a Chartered Tax Advisory practice, we are experts in tax, and as reflected in our testimonials, we provide tax expertise with empathy and understanding to your own unique set of circumstances.

We are available right now to help you complete your tax return early so you know how much tax you need to pay and by when.

If you are due a refund, it makes perfect sense to receive this as soon as possible. We are working with many self-employed individuals and business owners who have already filed theirs and we are ready to help you too.

Contact us today to see how we can help you.