You can appeal to HMRC against a penalty for:
- Late filing of a return
- Paying tax after the due date
- Failing to pay all the tax you owe
- Unable to demonstrate that you have kept adequate records to underpin your tax returns
- Filing an incorrect return
Your penalty will be cancelled or amended if you have a reasonable excuse.
The latest definitions of what does, and what does not constitute a reasonable excuse are set out below.
What counts as a reasonable excuse
A reasonable excuse is normally something unexpected or outside your control that stopped you meeting a tax obligation, for example:
- your partner 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
- 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 prevented you from completing your tax return
- postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
You must try to send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.
What’s unlikely to be a reasonable excuse
The following aren’t usually accepted as a reasonable excuse:
- you relied on someone else to send your return and they didn’t
- your cheque bounced or payment failed because you didn’t have enough money
- you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
- you didn’t get a reminder from HMRC
If you have a disability
If you have a disability and claim to have a reasonable excuse that prevented you from meeting a deadline, HMRC will consider whether you made a reasonable effort to meet your obligation on time.