Do you have a reasonable? excuse for missing the self-assessment deadline?HMRC will only accept what itdeems to be reasonable excuses? as valid reasons for missing the self-assessment deadline. According to its criteria, this is when some unforeseeable or unusual event beyond your control has prevented you from filing your return on time. HMRC highlights potential occasions such as the following as examples:
- When there’s a failure in the HMRC computer system that prevents you from filing
- When your computer breaks down just before or during the preparation of your online return
- When you contract a serious illness, disability or serious mental health condition that makes you incapable of filing your tax return
- When you have registered for HMRC Online Services but didn’t get your Activation Code in time to submit your tax return before the deadline
- When important documents are lost through theft, fire, flood or similar circumstances and can’t be replaced before the self-assessment deadline. In these instances, HMRC will usually judge on a case by case basis and make a decision on whether they are reasonable excuses or not
Youll need to prove your circumstancesIf you believe that you have a reasonable excuse like the ones above, remember that HMRC will only accept them if they actually prevented you from filing your return on time when you otherwise would have done. HMRC is unlikely to be lenient if it believes that you are at fault for missing the deadline. it’s therefore advisable to not only show proof of your situation to them, but also demonstrate that you have made some effort to overcome the problems. HMRC will review each case on merit to decide whether it is a reasonable? excuse or not, so it is up to you to explain your case and put yourself in the best light as possible. If you arent sure whether you have a valid reason for missing the deadline, speak to your accountant and get their advice or contact HMRC directly to explain your circumstances. Just be prepared for the bad news that your excuse isnt considered reasonable by HMRC, and have 100 ready to pay the fine as soon as possible, so you don’t face any additional penalties down the line.
Remember you still have to fileEven if HMRC accepts your excuse and allows you to file your tax return late, this isnt an indefinite reprieve. Youll still need to file your return as soon as you can, and youll also need to pay the tax that you owe too. Check with HMRC to find out exactly how long your deadline extension is and make sure you submit your tax return by that date, otherwise youll start to incur penalties. Emily Coltman FCA is chief accountant to FreeAgent, who provide multi-award winning cloud accounting software for freelancers, micro-businesses and their accountants. Find out how you can pay lesscorporation tax as a small business owner
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