An appeal can be made against late payments for tax, or a late self-assessment. However, a reasonable excuse must be supplied.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ is something that prevents the taxpayer from meeting the deadline. HMRC, naturally take a hard stance on what is considered a reasonable excuse, with the following examples considered as acceptable:

  • the taxpayer’s partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline;
  • an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented the taxpayer from dealing with their tax affairs;
  • a life threatening illness;
  • the failure of a computer or software just before or while the taxpayer was preparing their tax return;
  • service issues with HMRC;
  • a fire, flood or theft which prevented the completion of a tax return;
  • postal delays which could not have been predicted; or
  • delays relating to a disability.

HMRC also outline the following examples of cases that are not considered a valid reason to miss a deadline:

  • relying on someone else to send the return and they failed to send it;
  • a cheque or payment bounced due to insufficient funds;
  • the taxpayer found HMRC’s online system too complicated;
  • the taxpayer did not receive a reminder from HMRC; or
  • the taxpayer made a mistake on their return.

So, what about coronavirus?

It’s going to be considered as a reasonable excuse. However, the taxpayer must explain how it has impacted them, leading to the missed deadline.

A general rule of thumb is that if coronavirus leads to one of the regular ‘acceptable reasonable excuses’, then coronavirus will be considered as a reasonable ecuse.

If the deadline is missed, then the return should be filed or the bill paid as soon as they are able to, following the reasonable excuses circumstance being resolved.

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Any questions?

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