Self Assessment 2012

Deadlines for sending in your tax return 

The deadline for paper returns is long passed and therefore you must send an online tax return to reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January 2012.The deadline has also passed (31 December) if you wanted HMRC to collect any tax you owe through your tax code.

There is a subtle change in the penalty regime this tax year as you must pay a penalty for late filing even if you have no tax to pay. If you miss the 31 January deadline, the longer you delay, the more you’ll have to pay.


Mrs Sloe’s tax return is due on 31 January 2012 but HMRC don’t receive it until 5 August 2012. It is over six months late so she will have to pay all of the following even if she has no tax liability:

  • £100 fixed penalty
  • £900 penalty – this is £10 each day from 1 May to 29 July, when the maximum 90 day penalty is reached.
  • £300 or 5 per cent of the tax due – whichever is the higher


Penalties for missing the tax return deadline
Length of delay Penalty you will have to pay
1 day late A fixed penalty of £100. This applies even if you have no tax to pay or have paid the tax you owe.
3 months late £10 for each following day – up to a 90 day maximum of £900. This is as well as the fixed penalty above.
6 months late £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher. This is as well as the penalties above.
12 months late £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher.
In serious cases you may be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due instead.
These are as well as the penalties above.

Is there any reason HMRC will accept for filing a late return?

Sometimes life throws up some major problems and while there are no hard and fast rules some examples of what HMRC may consider a reasonable excuse are:

  • documents lost through theft, fire or flood that you can’t replace in time
  • life-threatening illness, e.g. heart attack
  • death of a partner shortly before the filing deadline
  • postal strike or HMRC online service disruption