Reasonable excuse for late filed partnership return
A recent tribunal decision confirmed that a late filing penalty imposed on a partnership was not payable.
The taxpayer partnership filed its 2007/08 self assessment (SA) return on paper, posting it on 31 January 2009. The return, as it was paper based, should have been submitted by 31 October 2008. The 31 January deadline was available only for returns filed online.
D, the representative partner of the partnership, was aware of the filing dates and requirements and had intended to submit the return electronically. His own and his wife’s personal tax returns were completed online. However, when he tried to do the same for the partnership return on 31 January 2009, he found he needed third party software. He therefore submitted the return on paper.
While HMRC’s notice to file the partnership return mentioned the need to use third party software, D had thought this was an option. D said the notice should have made it more clear that the partnership return could only be filed online using third party software.
The First-tier Tribunal agreed the words used in HMRC’s notice were not clear and concluded that D had a reasonable excuse for not filing the partnership return on time. The taxpayer partnership’s appeal was allowed.