Penalties on Late Filing and Late Payment of Personal Tax

by | Jan 13, 2022

There are some nasty consequences when you’re late on your personal tax return. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the deadlines and make sure you file your tax correctly! In this post we set out the deadlines so that you don’t have to miss another tax return deadline. But what if you do file your tax late – we’ve got some advice for that too.

Let’s start by looking at the penalties involved in late personal tax returns.

Late filing penalties overview

Filing your personal tax return late could cost you up to £1,600 in penalties if you don’t owe any tax. If you do owe tax (or if the withholding of information was deliberate and concealed), the penalty could be even more. In addition to this, the late payment of any taxes due are subject to interest (at 3% p/y) and surcharges (up to 15% of the tax outstanding).

If you are behind with your tax filing obligations and require our assistance, please do get in touch.

Let’s go into some more detail about deadlines and penalties.

Filing deadline for personal tax

Your Self Assessment tax return is due 31 January following the end of the Self Assessment tax year. E.g. the due date for a tax return for the year ended 5 April 2015 is 31 January 2016.

Penalties for late filing of self-assessment tax returns

* If you miss the filing deadline (31 January), a £100 late tax return penalty will automatically apply

* If you still have not filed three months after the deadline, you will start to incur £10 per day penalties – up to a maximum of £900 (in addition to the £100 penalty)

* If you still have not filed 6 months after the deadline, you will have to pay a further penalty of £300 or 5% of the tax liability in addition to the penalties above, whichever is higher

* If you still have not filed 12 months after the deadline, in addition to the penalties above, you will have to pay a further penalty of £300 or 5% (whichever is higher) of the tax due (100% if the withholding of information was deliberate and concealed)

Penalties for Late Payment of Self Assessment Tax

The penalty for late payment of income tax and CGT is as follows:

* 30 days late (i.e. 28 February) 5% of the tax unpaid at that date;

* 6 months late (i.e. 31 July) a further 5% of the tax unpaid at that date;

* 12 months late (i.e. 31 January) a further 5% of the tax unpaid at that date;

* The above gives a maximum penalty of 15% of the unpaid tax;

* These penalties do not apply to late payments on account of income tax (i.e. advance payments for the following tax year).

What are my options if I do miss the deadline?

Not my Fault

If you submit a tax return/pay tax late but have a ‘reasonable excuse’, the HMRC will let you off the above penalties. However, interest will still apply. Please note that the bar is set pretty high for not meeting your obligations on time for submitting your return/paying tax (i.e. bereavement/serious illness).

Act Early

If you don’t have an excuse that will get you off the hook, all is not lost. By concession the HMRC allows some leeway, but only if you act promptly.

If you haven’t paid some or all of the tax due by the 31 January deadline, contact the HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service on 0300 200 3835 within 14 days and explain your circumstances (to help your cause you should ensure your tax return is submitted before doing this).

You may be able to either get more time to pay or pay your bill in instalments.

If you can agree a payment schedule, the penalty won’t be charged. Where you agree upon a payment schedule make sure you stick to it otherwise the HMRC will reinstate the penalty.

Please see this link for further details if you can’t pay your tax bill on time and the information required to arrange a payment plan with the HMRC (

Late payment interest

Late payment interest is charged on any amounts payable to the HMRC (currently at 3%), including any unpaid penalties and late payments on account from the day after payment was due until the day before payment is received.