How Missing The October 31st Tax Return Deadline Could Cost You Hundreds

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Do you want to submit a paper based tax return for the last tax year?

If so, you should remember that the deadline for tax returns is looming large.  Paper tax returns have to be with HMRC by midnight on 31st October.

If you haven’t submitted your tax return, it is time to get moving.  Our guide explains the deadline for tax returns and the penalties for non-compliance.

The 31st October deadline

If you send in a paper tax return, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 October.

The deadline for paper tax returns is only later than 31 October if:

  • You have been told by HMRC that you are not allowed to file online
  • You are completing a paper based tax return because there is no software available for you to file online (for example if you are a Non-Resident Company)

In these two situations, you have until 31 January to file your tax return.

  • You receive your HMRC ‘notice to file’ after 31 July

In this situation, HMRC must receive your paper tax return within three months of the date you receive your ‘notice to file’.

Online returns

Remember, the deadline of 31st October is only for paper based tax returns.  If you submit your tax return online, or you plan to submit your return online, you have until 31st January for HMRC to receive your self-assessment tax return.

Missing the 31st October deadline

If your paper based tax return arrives at HMRC after midnight on 31st October, you will receive an automatic £100 penalty.

However, if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing the deadline, you will not ordinarily have to pay the penalty.  There is no strict rule for what constitutes a ‘reasonable excuses’ but they generally include:

  • A serious illness that prevents you from filing your return
  • Long running Royal Mail industrial action over a period of time
  • Documents lost by fire or flood and unable to be replaced in time

If you’ve got a reasonable excuse you can ask for a penalty to be reconsidered.  However, don’t delay – write to HMRC immediately and explain to them why your return was late.  HMRC will look carefully at the information you provide and any other evidence that’s available and determine whether the penalty will be waived.

If you don’t send in your return on time, HMRC may decide to estimate the tax due and request payment. This is called ‘a determination’.  You may also be asked to pay interest on the estimated tax that you owe.

So, if you plan to submit a paper based tax return, you need to do this before the October 31st deadline. What are you waiting for?

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