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Late filing of Self Assessment tax returns

Taxpayers that have not yet filed their 2015-16 Self Assessment returns will have been charged an automatic £100 penalty for late submission. The penalty applied from 1 February 2017 even if no tax was due or the tax due was paid on time. However, taxpayers who were meant to file online by 31 January 2017, and have still not filed their 2015-16 return, are reminded that they will face far greater penalties. A daily penalty of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900 (90 days) will be charged from 1 May 2017.  Additional penalties then apply if the return is still outstanding for more than 6 months after the 31 January 2017 filing deadline. From 1 August 2017 taxpayers will be charged the greater of £300 or 5% of the tax due. If the return remains outstanding one year after the filing deadline further penalties will be charged from 1 February 2018.Taxpayers can appeal against any penalties that have been issued. This can be done online for the £100 fixed late filing penalty. An appeal against the £100 penalty as well as any larger penalties can be made in writing using the SA370 form. An appeal must usually be made within 30 days of receipt of the penalty. HMRC has been taking a more pragmatic approach in respect of taxpayers that file a late return. This approach may apply to those that have a reasonable excuse for filing a Self Assessment return late. However, taxpayers must have had a good reason for sending in a late return and have ensured that the return was sent in as soon as possible following the deadline. It is important that anyone that has not yet submitted a return do so as soon as possible to minimise any penalties due.