There could be many reasons why you file your personal tax return late, resulting in a penalty being issued, however HMRC only see a few of these as a reasonable excuse and enough reason to cancel this penalty.
It is possible to get your fine cancelled if:
The penalty relates to your tax return for 2013/14
You have now submitted that tax return to HMRC
Your appeal against the penalty includes a reasonable excuse for the late filing.
The reasonable excuses that HMRC will accept include; computer faults come across whilst submitting the return, unexpected postal delays (paper returns only), a life changing event such as a close family members death, and fire or flood that occurred shortly before the tax return had to be filed.
HMRC understand that often there are problems with their online system, so this could also be used as a reasonable excuse. Although you will need to be precise in what you say.
An example of an excuse that would be accepted is: “When I pressed ‘submit’ I received an error message that said; ‘access denied’. I rang the HMRC online helpdesk on these occasions and received the following advice…”
To ensure that you cover your tracks, when contacting HMRC always make notes of the exact time you rang and the number you called. If you are told anything from a HMRC officer then write down what was said and ask for a name and reference number.
If you would like any advice on submitting your tax return or appealing a late filing penalty then please contact us.