5 things to do now if you’ve missed the Self Assessment deadline for online filing

So, you’ve missed the Self Assessment deadline for filing online? You’re not the only one. Although, last year, 10.7m people filed their 2019-2020 Self Assessment tax returns online before the 31 January 2021 deadline, 1.8m were…

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Last Updated: 18th February 2022   |   Created: 18th February 2022

So, you’ve missed the Self Assessment deadline for filing online? You’re not the only one. Although, last year, 10.7m people filed their 2019-2020 Self Assessment tax returns online before the 31 January 2021 deadline, 1.8m were late. Delays linked to the pandemic were a big reason why the figure was twice as high as in 2020.

People miss the Self Assessment online filing deadline for various reasons, sometimes because of health problems, emergencies and other more serious unforeseen events. Others are so busy that their Self Assessment tax return just can’t be given priority over other things. Many people dislike doing their Self Assessment tax return or they worry about making mistakes, so they put it off and off until they don’t have enough time to get it done in time.

OK, whatever your reason, you’ve missed the Self Assessment online filing deadline. What should you do now?

1. If you missed the Self Assessment deadline don’t panic – it’s not the end of the world

Life can often be busy and we all have to prioritise and juggle. It’s hardly surprising that some deadlines get missed, so don’t feel too bad. You’ll be glad to hear that you can’t be sent to prison for missing the Self Assessment online filing deadline. However:

  • You’ll be less glad to hear that the automatic late-filing penalty is £100, payable to HMRC as soon as you miss the deadline.
  • If you still haven’t filed your Self Assessment tax return after three months, there’s an additional £10-per-day penalty, up to a £900 maximum (ie 90 days).
  • If your Self Assessment tax return is six months’ late, there’s a further penalty of £300 (or 5% of the tax owing if this is greater), on top of the penalties already detailed above.
  • If you’re a year or more late, you’ll be charged another £300 or 5% of the tax owing if this is greater, in addition to the penalties already detailed above.

2. Appeal your late-filing penalty – if you have a valid reason

Your valid reason could be your partner or a close relative has died or you had a serious illness or was hospitalised shortly before the Self Assessment tax return online filing deadline. Other valid reasons can include: delays caused by your disability; a serious computer or software malfunction while filling in/filing your return online; or serious issues with HMRC’s online services.

If you have a valid reason, you can appeal your late-filing penalty, but first you should make sure that you file your Self Assessment tax return (within 14 days of the missed deadline, preferably). HMRC may ask for evidence and there are no guarantees that a late-filing penalty will be waived.

Need to know!

You should appeal your late-filing penalty within 30 days of the penalty notice being issued, although HMRC may consider late appeals in some circumstances. Claiming that someone else failed to file your return on time isn’t an acceptable excuse, nor is finding it hard to use HMRC’s online system or not knowing when the deadline was.  

3. Complete your late Self Assessment tax return – ASAP

The more you delay filing your Self Assessment tax return, the more you’ll owe HMRC, especially if you’re really late. And why would you want it to leave it hanging over your head? Take decisive action; gather together all of the information you need and give yourself enough space and time to complete and file your Self Assessment tax return. Get it done, as soon as possible. 

4. Stop the Self Assessment late-filing “penalty clock”

Some people have more complex income and expenses, which can be why they miss the Self Assessment online filing deadline, because it takes a long time to gather all of the figures to make the necessary calculations. Working out income and expenses can be challenging if you’re records are disorganised, for example, if you have to go through piles of sales receipts to tot up your expenses.

To stop the late-filing clock, you could file estimated figures, perhaps based on previous years figures, and then update your tax return with the actual figures. You’re not breaking any rules by doing this, as long as you explain that your figures are reliable provisional estimates and then give a date when your Self Assessment tax return will be amended. You tick a box on the SA100 tax return form to declare that your return uses estimated figures.

Need to know!

  • You have until 31 January 2023 to amend your Self Assessment tax return for 2020-2021. Your bill will be updated based on your updated figures.

5. Make your life easier by using GoSimpleTax

Having to complete and file a Self Assessment tax return is a pain that many people can do without. We can help. Self Assessment filing app GoSimpleTax gives you an easier way to complete and file your Self Assessment tax return – all for as little as £49. And to ensure that your tax return is error-free and that you’re claiming all of your tax allowances and expenses, why not get your Self Assessment tax return checked by one of our experts?

Need to know!

  • HMRC is waiving Self Assessment late-filing and late-payment penalties for one month, giving you a one-month filing extension for your 2020/2021 tax return and an additional month to pay tax you owe. But, as our blog explains, you should still file your 2020/21 Self Assessment return as soon as possible.

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Blog content is for information purposes and over time may become outdated, although we do strive to keep it current. It's written to help you understand your Tax's and is not to be relied upon as professional accounting, tax and legal advice due to differences in everyone's circumstances. For additional help please contact our support team or HMRC.

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