Self Assessment Tax Return Deadline – What to do if you miss it?

Missing the self-assessment tax return deadline can be a stressful situation for individuals who are required to file their taxes. Whether due to oversight or circumstances beyond one’s control, failing to submit the tax return on time can have financial implications. We will try to explore the actions you can take to tackle such situations, potential penalties and fines.

Understanding the Self-Assessment Tax Return Deadline

Before delving into the necessary steps to take, let’s first understand the concept and purpose of the self-assessment tax return. In the UK it applies to individuals who are self-employed, receive income from rental properties, have substantial savings or investment income, or fall under other taxable categories.


The self-assessment tax return serves the purpose of declaring one’s income, gains, and deductible expenses. It ensures that individuals pay the correct amount of tax based on their circumstances and allows HMRC to determine any additional tax liabilities or refunds owed. The tax return deadline is a crucial date by which taxpayers must submit their completed returns and any outstanding payments. You can read more about the UK Tax year dates over here.

Consequences of Missing the Self-Assessment Tax Return Deadline

When the self-assessment tax return deadline is missed, several consequences can arise. Including the following:

·        Penalties and Fines: HMRC imposes penalties for late filing. The penalties depend on the number of days the return is overdue, ranging from an initial fixed penalty to daily penalties for further delays.

·        Additional Interest Charges: In addition to penalties, HMRC may charge interest on any outstanding tax owed, accruing from the deadline until the payment is made.


·        Loss of Certain Tax Benefits: Late filing can result in the loss of certain tax benefits, such as certain deductions, exemptions, or credits that you may have been eligible for. Which can lead to a higher tax liability. 

Immediate Steps to Take if You Miss the Deadline

If you find yourself in such a scenario, then do the following to minimize the potential consequences:

·        Acknowledge the Missed Deadline: Acceptance and acknowledgment of the missed deadline is the first step. Avoiding or ignoring the situation will only exacerbate the problem. Understand that it’s crucial to act promptly to rectify the situation.

·        Gather All Relevant Documents and Information: Collect all the necessary documents and information required to complete your tax return accurately. This includes your income statements, expense records, receipts, and any other relevant financial documents that is applicable. Having these ready will streamline the process once you start preparing your outstanding tax return.

·        Contact HMRC: Reach out to HMRC to inform them about your missed deadline. You can contact them through their helpline or via their online services. We would suggest to contact the HMRC as soon as possible. As, informing them shows your willingness to rectify the situation.


·        Prepare and Submit the Outstanding Tax Return: Start working on your outstanding tax return as soon as possible. Make sure to accurately report your income, deductions, and any other required information. Pay attention to any specific instructions or guidelines provided by HMRC. You can utilize any professional accountant service to make the process even quicker and simpler. 

Handling Penalties and Fines

If you have missed the deadline, chances are you will have some penalties or fines. Here are some what you need to know:

·        Late Filing Penalties: HMRC imposes penalties based on the duration of the delay. The penalties can vary depending on the length of the delay and your previous compliance history. You have to pay £100 if you are late for 3 months, and anything over that should be properly estimated according to your case.

·        Appeal or Mitigate Penalties: In certain cases, you may be able to appeal against the penalties imposed by HMRC. Valid reasons for appeal include unforeseen circumstances, serious illness, or administrative errors. If you believe you have a valid reason, gather the necessary documentation and follow the appropriate procedure to appeal or mitigate the penalties.


·        Payment Deadlines for Penalties: It’s essential to understand the deadlines for paying the penalties imposed by HMRC. Late payment can result in further penalties and interest charges. Ensure that you meet the payment deadlines to avoid additional financial burdens.

Seeking Professional Help

Its always better to get a professional help, if you find yourself in a situation like this.

·        Hiring an Accountant or Tax Advisor: Engaging the services of an accountant or tax advisor who specializes in self-assessment tax returns can be beneficial. They are experienced in tax returns and can help you through any complex scenarios.


·        Benefits of Professional Assistance: Professional tax advisors can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances. They can help you identify any missed deductions or credits, ensure compliance with tax regulations, and minimize potential penalties. Their expertise can offer peace of mind and save you time and effort. Most importantly they can do it much quicker as they deal with it regularly.

Preventing Future Missed Deadlines

The best step is to prevent such scenario from happening. Taking proactive steps to prevent future missed self-assessment tax return deadlines is crucial. Consider the following measures:

·        Organizing and Maintaining Financial Records: Maintain a systematic approach to organizing your financial records throughout the year. Keep track of all your income, expenses and any other relevant document needed to make the tax return process easier.

·        Setting Reminders and Calendar Alerts**: Use digital tools such as calendars or reminders to set up alerts for important tax deadlines. This will ensure that you stay informed and are reminded well in advance of the self-assessment tax return deadline.


·        Seeking Professional Tax Services: Consider outsourcing your tax obligations to professional tax services. We at Taxtotal aim to provide you with the best and hassle-free service possible. We will handle the end-to-end requirements needed to file your tax return, limiting your exposure to tiresome process.


1. Can I file my self-assessment tax return after the deadline?

Yes, you can still file your self-assessment tax return after the deadline. However, be aware that late filing may incur penalties and interest charges

2. How can I avoid penalties for missing the self-assessment tax return deadline?

To avoid penalties, it’s important to file your tax return on or before the deadline. Organize your financial records, set reminders, and consider seeking professional assistance to ensure timely and accurate filing.

3. What happens if I can’t pay the tax owed after missing the deadline?

If you can’t pay the tax owed after missing the deadline, it’s crucial to communicate with HMRC. They may be able to provide payment options or help you set up a payment plan based on your financial situation.

4. Can I appeal against the penalties for missing the self-assessment tax return deadline?

Yes, you can appeal against the penalties imposed by HMRC if you have a valid reason, such as unforeseen circumstances or administrative errors. You will have to follow the appeal procedure and provide supporting documentation for your case.

5. Is it necessary to hire a professional tax advisor if I miss the deadline?


While it’s not mandatory, hiring a professional tax advisor can be beneficial if you miss the deadline. They can provide expertise, guide you through the process, and help you minimize penalties while ensuring compliance with tax regulations.

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