'Don’t automatically accept automatic tax penalties'

Freelancers sat staring at a £100 late penalty fine for submitting their tax return late should not be resigned to just accepting it, a charity says, but must act fast.

In fact, those with a ‘reasonable excuse’ for why they missed the Jan 31 deadline should appeal against such an automatic penalty yet then settle up as soon as they can, says the Low Income Tax Reform Group.

On behalf of taxpayers who cannot afford accountants, the group issued the guidance in light of its concern that some recipients of HMRC penalties feel panicked into paying and are unaware of their rights.

“Flooding or severe weather problems, but also life events such as serious illness or bereavement, and other causes beyond the taxpayer’s control [are reasonable excuses that HMRC generally accepts],” LITRG said.

“It is important that even if a reasonable excuse is established, the taxpayer files without unreasonable delay once the excuse has ceased. For example, if illness prevented them from filing on time, they must file as soon as reasonably practicable when they recover from their illness.”

An online copy of the form that may be submitted with a late tax return, claiming reasonable excuse, can be found online, on GOV.UK.

As to those who have already received a penalty notice, an appeal notice will usually accompany it but, if not, the appeal notice can be downloaded from the government website.

Editor’s Note: Related –

Freelancers’ Questions: What if I file my tax return late?

Top 10 fanciful excuses for late tax returns

Don’t copy the self-employed artist who didn’t register for VAT


13th February 2017

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