Reasonable excuse - tax returns

You can remove tax return-related penalties if there is a reasonable excuse for not sending the return in on time

As previously highlighted, HMRC does not require supporting evidence to be submitted with any claim but may later ask for evidence.

A reasonable excuse is normally something unexpected or outside the taxpayer’s control that prevented from meeting a tax obligation.

HMRC provides the following reasonable excuse examples within the guidance:

  • 'your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
  • service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted'.

You should use form SA370, Self Assessment: appeal against penalties for late filing and late paymentwhen making an appeal.

HMRC is providing dedicated support for those affected by the recent severe weather. Those who need help can call 0800 904 7900 to speak to advisers on payment options.

You can find out more, including information on businesses and individuals impacted by recent floods, by reading HMRC's new guidance (available in the 'Related documents' section on this page) or by visiting the GOV.UK pages on reasonable excuse and severe weather and flooding.