Warning: Missing The Tax Return Deadline Could Cost You

Do you submit your tax return online?

If you do, you should remember that the online deadline for submitting your tax return for the previous tax year (6 April one year to 5th April the next) is 31st January.  If you fail to meet this deadline, you can face significant penalties from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Do you have to submit a tax return?

If you have to complete a tax return, you will be contacted by HMRC just after the end of the tax year.  There are various reasons you may have to submit a tax return; for example you have completed a tax return before or because your circumstances have changed.

If you send your return on paper, HMRC will send you a paper tax return to complete. If you send your return online, you will receive a letter instead (called a ‘Notice to File’).

The deadlines for sending in your tax return

If you submit your tax return by completing a paper form, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 October.

However, if you send your tax return online, it must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January.

The deadline is only later than 31 January if you received the ‘Notice to File’ after 31 October.  In this situation you will have three months from the date you receive the notice to send your return online.

If you send in your tax return online, you will get an on-screen acknowledgment once HMRC have received your return.

Penalties if you miss the tax return deadline

If you submit your tax return online after the 31 January deadline (or after the later deadline if you received your Notice to File after 31 October) you will face an automatic penalty of £100.

If you are late submitting a Partnership Tax Return, there will be a £100 penalty for each partner.

When you may not pay a penalty

If you have a reasonable excuse for missing the 31 January deadline then you may not have to pay the penalty.  Whilst there are no specific rules on what constitutes a ‘reasonable excuse’ some examples of what may be considered reasonable are:

  • A life-threatening illness
  • The death of a partner shortly before the deadline
  • Documents being lost through fire or flood
  • Problems with the online filing system

Don’t wait until you receive the penalty to query it.  If there is a problem, get in touch with HMRC immediately and explain why your return missed the deadline.


  1. Lee says:

    I registered self employed in September 2010. Ive not heard anything from the HMRC… When does my tax return have to be in?

  2. Janeece says:

    Glad I’ve finally found somheting I agree with!

  3. gabriel says:

    What is the tax return for?

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