Reasonable excuses for late filing online returns
HMRC has clarified its position as regards ‘reasonable excuses’ for online filers of tax returns. The next relevant deadline will be 31 January 2010 (the deadline for paper returns is 31 October 2009).
In certain circumstances, HMRC will reject an online filing and a submission error message will be generated. Where this happens, HMRC recommend that taxpayers check the online ‘Services Issues’ page to check if there is a known problem or for commercial software contact the software provider to check if there are any technical issues.
Where a taxpayer cannot easily resolve the filing issue a paper filing can be made, however this filing may be subject to a £100 late filing penalty. HMRC will accept that there was a reasonable excuse for the late filing where taxpayers can demonstrate there was an online filing error and the paper return was submitted with no undue delay.
There is a specific form available online at www.hmrc.gov.uk/carter/sa-reasonableexcuse.pdf which should be attached to the paper submission or alternatively a letter can be included with the tax return containing all the relevant information.
HMRC give a guideline date of 23 January 2010 until when it will be possible to have a ‘reasonable excuse’ but indicate that this may move closer to 31 January following periodic reviews of the cut-off date.