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Reasonable Excuse

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Newsletter issue - July 2015.

If you have received a penalty for late filing of your personal tax return it is possible to get it cancelled if all of the following conditions are met:

  • the penalty relates to your tax return for 2013/14;
  • you have now submitted that tax return to HMRC;
  • your appeal against the penalty includes a reasonable excuse for the late filing.

The reasonable excuses that HMRC will accept include; computer faults encountered while submitting the return, unexpected postal delays (only applicable to paper tax returns), life-changing events such as the death of a close family member, and fire or flood that occurred shortly before the tax return had to be filed.

HMRC admit that where a taxpayer is flummoxed by their online systems that can also be a reasonable excuse for later filing. However, you need to be more precise than saying; "I didn't understand the online instructions".

An acceptable reasonable excuse may be: "When I pressed 'submit' I received an error message that said; 'access denied'. I rang the HMRC online helpdesk on these occasions and received the following advice..."

When you contact HMRC for help with any tax return filing problem, whether for personal tax or business tax returns, always make a note of the exact time you rang and the number you called. If the HMRC officer tells you to do something (e.g. wait for a code number), write down what was said and ask for a name and reference number for that advice.

Many tax forms have to be filed online these days, and it can be an exasperating process. We can relieve that stress and leave you to get on with running your business by filing the tax forms on your behalf.