As well as it being Halloween, the deadline for taxpayers filing a self-assessment paper return is approaching. For the first time this year it is 31 October and not 31 January.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) is pointing out to taxpayers that they should remember that HMRC need to receive the return by 31 October. Just putting it in the post by that date is not sufficient. A useful trick is to retain proof of posting a paper return. If you deliver a return by hand to a local tax office no receipt will be provided, so taxpayers should keep some evidence, such as a note of the time and date the return was delivered.
Andrew Hubbard, CIOT Deputy President, says: “On 31 October most people are thinking about Halloween. What we don’t want is for people to wake up the following morning in horror that they missed the deadline.”
If you miss the paper deadline, returns can be filed online up to 31 January. You can file online using HMRC software or third party commercial software – but HMRC software does not cover all cases: in particular, it is not available for partnership or trust returns. Any partnership which misses the 31 October deadline will have to file online using commercial software, which is available for modest amounts from about £30, or face a late filing penalty of £100 per partner. This cannot be capped by each partner paying their tax on time.
The CIOT recently issued a statement about what to do if taxpayers miss the 31 October paper deadline and are subsequently unable file online (perhaps because of a software failure). These taxpayers should send in a late paper tax return and, where they have a 'reasonable excuse' for being late with their return, taxpayers or their tax adviser can submit a 'reasonable excuse claim' with their return. If this is accepted by HMRC, the treat will be to avoid an automatic late filing penalty.
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