Self-assessment tax return deadline penalties – what you need to know

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Self-assessment tax return deadline penalties – what you need to know

If you are required to submit a tax return, it’s important to plan for this and give yourself enough time to complete the return before the deadline date.

If you miss the self-assessment tax return deadline then penalties will be charged. There are two types of penalties, those for late filing and those for late payment of tax. HMRC will charge interest on any tax owing and on the penalties and charges incurred as a result of the late payment of tax.

By missing deadlines you are putting yourself on HMRC‘s radar and you’re more likely to undergo a tax enquiry. Be sure to get your returns in on time and pay before the due date, to reduce the risk and stress of dealing with a potential tax investigation.

There are stringent penalties for late filing and late payment and these are as follows:

Late Filing Penalty
Miss filing deadline £100
3 months late Daily penalty £10 per day for up to 90 days (max £900)
6 months late 5% of tax due or £300, if greater
12 months late 5% or £300 if greater, unless the taxpayer is held to be deliberately withholding information that would enable HMRC to assess the tax due.
12 months & taxpayer deliberately withholds information Based on behaviour:

·         Deliberate and concealed withholding 100% of tax due, or £300 if greater.

·         Deliberate but not concealed 70% of tax due, or £300 if greater.

Reductions apply for prompted and unprompted disclosures and telling, giving and helping.



Late payment Penalty
30 days late 5% of tax due
6 months late 5% of tax outstanding at that date
12 months late 5% of tax outstanding at that date


If you are unable to file your return on time for a perfectly valid reason, you have the opportunity to appeal against the penalties. In order to convince HMRC to withdraw the penalties you will have to convince them that you had a reasonable excuse.

Examples of what may constitute as a reasonable excuse as per HMRC guidelines:

  • HMRC Online Services would not accept the tax return
  • Bereavement – the death of a close relative or domestic partner shortly before the deadline.
  • Serious or life – threatening illness
  • Failure of your computer or software just before or while preparing the tax return
  • Fire, Flood or Theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • Postal delays that were out of your control
  • Delays you to a disability you have

What HMRC will not accept as a reasonable excuse:

  • The tax return was too difficult to complete.
  • Pressure of work.
  • It was your agent’s or tax adviser’s fault that you missed the deadline.
  • You didn’t get a reminder from HMRC
  • Payment failure due to not having enough funds

It is best practice to avoid penalties by filing your tax return before the statutory deadline. If you are unable to do so and have a reasonable excuse, then you should appeal against the penalty.

How can Nexus help?

As specialist contractor and freelance accountants, our team has years of experience in the contractor market. If you have not yet submitted your return and would like help in preparing it please call our help desk on 0161 791 1674.

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