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Late Penalty Charges and Aliens!

Late Penalty Charges and Aliens!

The 31st January Self Assessment deadline is fast approaching, with a hefty £100 penalty for a late return. After 30 days a £10 per day penalty is charged up to a maximum amount of £900. Whilst reasonable excuses for the late filing of your tax return may be considered, some excuses will not. Some of the more bizarre excuses put forward which HMRC failed to accept include:

  • I couldn’t file my tax return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me in the house.
  • My ex wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
  • My tax papers were left in a shed and a rat ate them.
  • My husband ran over my laptop.
  • I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns, but we have fallen out.
  • My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details.

And of course:

  • My dog ate my tax return!

What Are The Late Penalty Charges?

You will get a £100 penalty if your tax return is up to 3 months late, even if there is no tax to pay. After 3 months the penalty is £10 per day for up to 90 days to a maximum of £900. If it is more than six months late a further 5% of tax due (or £300 if greater) is added and the same again after 12 months.

Disagreeing With A Tax Decision

You can appeal against some penalties if you have a reasonable excuse such as:

  • Your partner or close relative passed away shortly before the tax return or payment deadline.
  • An unexpected stay in hospital prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs.
  • Your computer or software failed either just before or whilst you were preparing your online return.
  • A services issue with HMRC online services.

Excuses That HMRC Won’t Consider

Besides the excuses listed above the following won’t be considered as reasonable excuses:

  • You relied on someone else to send in your tax return and they let you down.
  • Your cheque bounced, or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money in your account.
  • You found the HMRC online system too difficult to use.
  • You didn’t get a reminder from HMRC.

What To Do

Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as soon as possible.

If you can’t pay your tax before the deadlines contact the Business Payment Support Service, which can be used by anyone, not just businesses.

For further information and contact details follow the link to the HMRC website


S4B are a team of Chartered Accountant based in Maidenhead. If you have any questions or require any help with your tax or financial planning please call one of the team on 01628 623444 or email us at

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