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What is a 'reasonable' excuse for a late tax return?

HM Revenue and Customs has reportedly waived a £100 fine for people who have a "reasonable" excuse for filing their tax returns late.

Its website states that a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline is "normally something unexpected or outside your control that stopped you meeting a tax obligation" and includes:

  • The recent death of a partner
  • An unexpected stay in hospital
  • Computer failures
  • Service issues with the tax authority's online services
  • A fire which prevented the completion of a tax return
  • Postal delays

HMRC waives late tax return £100 fine

Credit: PA

People who filed late tax returns have been let off a £100 fine for missing the deadline, it has been reported.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has waived the penalty for those who provided a "reasonable" excuse for being late, according to the Daily Telegraph.

An internal memo leaked to the newspaper revealed that HMRC staff were asked to write off the fine without further investigation for individuals who could show mitigating circumstances, and who appealed after paying their tax bill.

The January 31 deadline for completing tax self-assessment forms was reportedly missed by 890,000 people.

A HMRC spokesman told the Telegraph: "We want to focus more and more of our resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing."

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