Self-assessment tax return deadline is today

Tax return

Today is deadline day for online self–assessment tax forms to be filled in, but it's also the deadline for tax payment for the 2009/2010 tax year.

This payment deadline applies whether you filed your return by post, back in October 2010, or are filling in your self–assessment online.

Any late tax returns or payments after midnight on 31 January will face a £100 fine.

Only in exceptional circumstances will you be able to file your return after the 31 January deadline. For example, if you didn't receive notice to fill out a personal tax return until after 31 October 2010. If this is the case you will have three months from the date you receive notice to file your return.

In terms of excuses for not filling in your form on time, you will need to come up with a pretty good reason to satisfy HM Revenue & Customs. On its website, it says there is no "hard and fast rule" on what constitutes a reasonable excuse but as a point of reference, it would have to be something like losing your documents to fire, flood or theft, suffering a life–threatening illness like a heart attack, the death of a partner shortly before deadline date, issues with the post such as a postal strike or online errors not allowing you to file the return.

If you think you have a valid reason for not meeting the deadline, apply as soon as possible rather than waiting for the penalty. To do so write to your tax office, giving your name, unique taxpayer reference, the date you sent the return and the reason for it being late.

It's now possible to set up a direct debit if you've registered for self–assessment online. This will ensure you're never late with another payment and if you're up to date with pay you can start making regular payments towards future tax.

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