What Steps To Take if You Exceed the Self-Assessment Tax Return Deadline
In some very rare situations, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may give you a different filing date for your tax return. But otherwise, it is not usually possible to get an extension to the filing deadline.
Regardless of how you filed your tax return, any outstanding tax should have been paid by 31st January 2024. Interest will be charged on late payments after this date.
What are the penalties for late tax returns?
If HMRC asked you to complete a tax return for 2022/23 and you missed the deadline, you will automatically be fined regardless of whether you’re just one minute late or how small your tax liability is. Even if you are due a refund, a penalty would also normally apply.
The penalties for filing your self-assessment tax return late are currently as follows:
- 1 day late – Automatic fixed penalty of £100.
- 3 months late – £10 per day up to a 90 maximum of £900.
- 6 months late – £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher.
- 12 months late – £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is higher.
In serious cases, you may even be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due instead. These penalties are in addition to one another, so the minimum late filing penalty for a tax return that is 12-months late will be upwards of £1,600 depending on the tax liability.
Penalties for late payment of tax are:
- 30 days late – 5% of tax due
- Six months late – 5% of outstanding tax due at that date
- 12 months late – 5% of outstanding tax due at that date
It is also important to bear in mind that interest will be charged on top of these penalties on the outstanding tax due, plus any outstanding penalties due. This is charged at a rate of 7.75%.
My tax return is overdue, what should I do?
Firstly, you need to consider if the tax return is required or if you have a legitimate reason for the delay:
Cancelling a tax return
You can use the ‘ask HMRC online’ option and speak to a webchat advisor or complete a form online. If HMRC agrees, you no do not need to file a return and any penalties issued for missing the deadline should be cancelled
Remember to note down who you spoke to and when, what outcome is expected and when you will receive their decision.
HMRC is unlikely to withdraw a return if you have been self-employed at any point during the tax year – even a very short time will count. Typically, you will only have two years from the end of the tax year for which the return is due to request its withdrawal, but it’s always better to deal with your tax affairs swiftly.
If you have a good reason for the delay, you may be able to appeal against the penalty.
HMRC lists several common examples of Reasonable Excuses on its website.
- Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
- You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
- You had a serious or life-threatening illness
- Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
- Service issues with HMRC online services
What’s unlikely to be reasonable excuse?
The following aren’t usually accepted as a reasonable excuse:
- you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t
- your cheque bounced or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money
- you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
- you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC
- you made a mistake on your tax return
If you’ve missed the deadline, file your tax return as quickly as possible
If the tax return can’t be withdrawn and you don’t have a good excuse, the next best thing is to file your tax return as soon as is practical – even if you can’t afford your tax bill yet. As you’ve seen, the late filing penalties will increase the longer the delay.
How long do I have to change my tax return?
If you make a mistake on your tax return, you can amend it. To amend a tax return online you must make your changes within 12 months of the self-assessment deadline (by 31st January 2025 for a 2022/23 self-assessment tax return).
After this deadline has passed, if you need to change your tax return, you’ll need to write to HMRC.
Need more help?
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