Anyone receiving a penalty from HMRC for late filing of a self assessment form for tax year 2015/16 must complete an SA370 appeal form within 30 days if they dispute the fine, although only the basic £100 fine appeal process is available online

Form SA370 has to be used to appeal against a penalty for sending a tax return late and/or paying tax late for all fines over £100 and completed forms must be returned by post to HMRC within 30 days of receipt of a penalty notice.

If a self assessment form is one day late, a late filing penalty fine of £100 is automatically applied, which can be appealed online for the tax year 2015 to 2016 at www.gov.uk/tax-appeals/penalty Online appellants will receive confirmation of receipt of the appeal request.

Taxpayers must give a ‘reasonable excuse’ which falls within the parameters of HMRC’s definition.

Reasonable excuse

HMRC will only accept an appeal ‘if something sudden or out of your control, meant that you couldn’t meet the deadline’.

The HMRC guidance gives a few examples of what it accepts as a ‘reasonable excuse’.

These include:

  • a close relative or domestic partner passed away shortly before the deadline;
  • taxpayer did not receive online HMRC self assessment activation code in time to send tax return by the deadline – as long as it sent it as soon as the code is received; and
  • taxpayer lost tax records through theft, fire or flood, and could not replace them in time to meet the deadline.

Despite HMRC’s race to adoption of Making Tax Digital and full digitisation of the tax system, the appeal process is still paper-based.

Completed forms for fines over £100 have to be sent in a paper format to: Self Assessment, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1AS.