Late taxpayers claim 'reasonable excuse'

Taxpayers can now submit a 'reasonable excuse' claim if they have missed the 31 October deadline for paper filing. This will be an alternative to an automatic late filing penalty and will apply to people who are late with their tax form through no fault of their own, perhaps because of a software failure, for example. Until now, taxpayers had to claim a reasonable excuse after Revenue & Customs had issued a late filing penalty. The advance claim procedure will enable it to stop many penalty notices and save time. The Chartered Institute of Taxation has welcomed the change. Tina Riches, CIOT technical director, said: 'The CIOT have worked with HMRC to ensure a smooth process for tax advisers, the taxpayer and the HMRC. 'We are very pleased that they have taken the time to consult with the professional bodies and understood the problems in this transitional year. The outcome is a positive result for all concerned.' Individuals can avoid late filing penalties by paying their tax on time. However, without a valid claim for reasonable excuse, late partnership tax returns and returns of individuals who have not paid their tax on time can attract a penalty of up to £100 per partner or individual. The one-page form will mean, if the Revenue accepts it, that no penalty notice is issued.
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