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Late filing notice from HMRC

The Low Income Tax Reform Group (LITRG) was established in 1998 to improve the policy and processes of the tax, tax credits and associated welfare systems for the benefit of those on low incomes. A new press release from the LITRG reminds taxpayers of their options if they receive a fixed £100 penalty notice from HMRC for late filing (after 31 January 2017) of their Self Assessment return.The press release stresses that ‘… there could be extenuating circumstances where someone may be able to avoid a penalty by claiming what HMRC define as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for filing their tax return late. These could include flooding or severe weather problems, but also life events such as serious illness or bereavement, and other causes beyond the taxpayer’s control.’In addition, HMRC can charge a penalty for the submission of an inaccurate return. The penalties can range from 0% where reasonable care is taken but nonetheless an incorrect return is submitted up to 100% of the tax where an error is deliberate and the taxpayer attempts to conceal it.HMRC say that some of the ways you can take reasonable care include:keeping enough records to make accurate tax returns; keeping those records safe; asking HMRC or a tax adviser if you are not sure about anything, and following any advice you are given.However, there is no definitive definition of ‘reasonable care’ and HMRC is clear that their decision in part depends on an individual taxpayer’s specific abilities and circumstances.