If something unexpected has happened, which has prevented you from meeting a tax obligation, you may be able to appeal against any penalties that may arise as a consequence.
What are the conditions in which you can appeal the penalties?
If you are able to claim a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing your tax deadline, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may waiver any penalties. HMRC defines a ‘reasonable excuse’ as something that is out of the individual’s control. For example:
- The loss of a partner just before the tax return or payment deadline
- Unexpected deterioration in health, leaving you in hospital and ultimately stopping you from being able to deal with your tax affairs
- Unpredicted postal delays
- Technology glitches – your computer or its software becomes dysfunctional
- A scenario, such as a fire, has stopped you from completing your tax return
It is required that you attempt to send your return or make payment as soon as possible after any of the above issues are resolved. However, it is worth bearing in mind that if your excuse concerns any of the following, it is unlikely to be considered and accepted by HMRC:
- You relied on someone else to submit your return for you, but they failed to do so
- Lack of funds leading to a bounced cheque or failure of payment
- You did not receive a reminder from HMRC
- You had great difficulty in using the HMRC online system
In addition to this, if you have a disability and have reason to believe that you have been prevented from meeting a deadline, then HMRC will consider if you have made a judicious effort to meet your responsibility on time.
The procedure to appeal if you disagree with a tax decision can be found here.