As hard as you might work to prepare your taxes and pay them on time, sometimes the unexpected happens. Which means meeting the deadlines might be impossible. Unfortunately, HMRC doesn't allow tax extensions. And it'll slap you with heavy fines if you file late. That said, you may be able to avoid paying the fine by filing an appeal.Here's how to go about this.
Let's back up a bit. First things first, here's a look at the deadlines for a timely filing.
The deadline for filing taxes depends on how you file them. If you file them using a paper return, your self assessment tax return must reach HMRC by midnight on the 31 October after the end of that tax year. So, if you want to file your 2017/18 taxes on time, your paper return must reach HMRC by the 31 October 2018.Filing your tax return online buys you an extra three months. So, if you were filing your taxes for 2017/18 online, you'd have until 31 January 2019.Filing your taxes online also has other advantages, so it's worth going this route. In particular:
If your tax bill is more than £1,000, you also have to make two payments on account for the next year. These payments are equivalent to half your tax bill for the previous year.More importantly, these payments on account also have deadlines. And if you pay late, you risk being hit with a fine.
In 2017/18, you owed £4,000 in taxes. This means you must make two payments on account for 2018/19, equivalent to £2,000 each.The first payment on account, amounting to £2,000, is due by the 31 January 2019.The second payment on account, also amounting to £2,000, is due by the 31 July 2019.
The penalties for late filing are pretty harsh. There's an automatic £100 fine if you don't file by the deadline, even if you don't owe any tax. But things start getting even harsher the more time passes.
The fines for missing payment deadlines are even harsher:
By now, you're probably sold on filing that appeal, right? So how do you go about it?Well, there's bad news and good news.The bad news is that the fines are automatic. The good news is that you can appeal them. However, you'll need to have a reasonable excuse. And - you guessed it - there's another deadline. You have to appeal within 30 days of HMRC issuing the penalty. Otherwise, it'll be thrown out.
The reasonable excuses are:
Sadly, some excuses definitely won't work. These are:
Right. It's go time. Here's how you can file an appeal: