HMRC have issued updated guidance on when taxpayers have a reasonable excuse for the late filing of returns or late payment of tax to specifically include being affected by Coronavirus.

The updated guidance advises that when submitting an appeal against a penalty for late filing or payment, taxpayers should explain how they were affected by the virus and should still submit the return or make the payment as soon as they can.

  • HMRC already accept suffering a serious or life-threatening illness, having an unexpected stay in hospital and the death of a partner or other close relative, as reasonable excuses.
  • Equally some excuses which HMRC do not allow, such as lack of funds or relying on someone else to file a return may still not be acceptable despite the pandemic, depending on the individual taxpayer's circumstances.

Anyone who is having or expecting difficulties in paying their tax due to Coronavirus is advised to contact HMRC on 0800 024 1222 to discuss time to pay options, ideally before the tax becomes due.

Links to our guides

COVID-19: Government support tracker
This tracker covers measures announced by the government to support individuals and businesses, as we get through COVID-19.

COVID-19: Time to Pay
As part of the government support package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.

COVID 19: Deferring Income Tax payments
As part of the government support package to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Income Tax payments on account due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system may be deferred to January 2021.

How to appeal a tax penalty
How to appeal a tax penalty. What are your rights of appeal if HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have assessed you for a tax penalty?

External link

HMRC guidance: Disagree with a tax decision