Over 11.5m taxpayers were required to file their 2017/18 Self Assessment tax returns by 11:59pm on the 31 January, however, 700,000 tax payers missed the deadline.

Nearly 740,000 returns were submitted on the deadline day with the peak filing hour being between 4pm and 5pm, when over 60,000 returns were filed.

Any taxpayer who has missed the deadline should contact HMRC.

Appeals can be made against penalties if there is a reasonable excuse for the payment being late. The excuse must be genuine and HMRC may ask for evidence. This may include:

  • A partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • An unexpected stay in hospital
  • A serious or life-threatening illness
  • Computer or software failure just before or during the preparation of an online return
  • Service issues with HMRC online services
  • A fire, flood or theft
  • Postal delays that couldn’t have been predicted
  • Delays related to a disability

The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders.

The penalties for late tax returns are:

  • An initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
  • After 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
  • After 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
  • After 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.
  • There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.