Readers may have read recently of HMRC’s change in practice on penalties for late filing of personal tax returns.
The law provides for an automatic penalty of £100 if a personal tax return is even a day late (and more than that if it’s more than 3 months late). However, no penalty is due if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for the delay and you may appeal within 30 days of the issue of the penalty.
So what’s changed?
Almost 900,000 people didn’t file on time this year. HMRC don’t have the resources to investigate everyone who claims to have a reasonable excuse. So they have decided that “in the majority of cases we will be accepting the customer’s grounds for appeal, and we can cancel the penalty”. This applies only to late filing of the 2013/14 tax return, and only once the return has been filed.
Is this an amnesty? No. You will still need to provide a reasonable excuse.
What’s a reasonable excuse? HMRC lists what they think does or doesn’t count as a reasonable excuse here.