Taxation logo taxation mission text

Since 1927 the leading authority on tax law, practice and administration

Self-assessments 2019-2020: the reasonable excuse trap

16 February 2021 / Tom Henderson , Kelly Sizer
Issue: 4780 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
False deadlines

Key points

  • HMRC announced that it would not charge late-filing penalties for 2019-20 tax returns as long as these were filed online by 28 February.
  • Subsequent late filing penalties are charged by reference to the statutory filing date not 28 February.
  • Taxpayers filing after 28 February claiming a reasonable excuse defence should do so by reference to a failure to file by 31 January not 28 February.
  • Furthermore taxpayers should file without unreasonable delay after that reasonable excuse has ceased.
  • Taxpayers with a valid reasonable excuse who file after 31 January 2021 still face an extended enquiry window.

Just six days before the 31 January 2021 self-assessment filing deadline HMRC announced that it would not charge late filing penalties for taxpayers who missed it – provided they file online on or before 28 February 2021 (see ‘No penalties if returns are filed by 28 February’...

If you or your firm subscribes to, please click the login box below:

If you are not a subscriber but are a registered user or have a free trial, please enter your details in the following boxes:

Alternatively, you can register free of charge to read a limited amount of subscriber content per month.
Once you have registered, you will receive an email directing you back to read this item in full.

Please reach out to customer services at +44 (0) 330 161 1234 or '' for further assistance.

Download the exclusive Xero
free report here.

New queries
Please email any questions you might have

back to top icon