Escaping the £100 late filing penalty

The HMRC late filing penalty is imposed for late filing of your UK self assessment tax return.

To avoid the penalty there are 4 main options:

  1. File on 1 February. The deadline is strictly 31st January each year. However penalties run from the day after and therefore tax returns filed on the day after will be accepted and no penalty will becomes due.
  2. Get removed from the Self-Assessment system. You can call HMRC and ask them to remove you from the system and if they agree this usually can be backdated and effectively cancels the requirement for self-assessment from that date.
  3. Have a reasonable excuse. If very unusual circumstances caused your tax return to be filed late. The HMRC will consider reducing the penalty to nil.
  4. Appeal anyway. HMRC receives so many requests to cancel the penalty that in many cases they simply agree without question.

The best advice if your UK tax return is late, speak to a qualified Chartered Tax Adviser who can normally draft a summary of your position and advise if a penalty is due or not.