Your personal tax return for 2016-17 must reach HMRC by midnight on 31 January 2018. Submitting it online is generally the most efficient way to do this. However, this year HMRC’s coding of the tax calculation contains a number of errors, which means taxpayers who fall into one of 32 circumstances (the exclusions) can’t file their tax returns online, so must file a paper tax return instead.
HMRC has promised to fix some of the 2016-17 tax calculation errors by 31 October 2017. This should help taxpayers who have significant amounts of savings or dividend income, where it makes sense to set part of their personal allowance against that income. Those taxpayers should be able to file their 2016-17 personal tax returns online with the confidence that their tax bills will be correct.
However, not all the tax computation errors will be fixed before the paper-return filing deadline of 31 October 2017. For example, there are no plans to fix the code to ensure that the profit averaging adjustment for farmers, market gardeners and creators of literary or artistic works is performed correctly.
If your return still can’t be filed online from November 2017 onwards, a paper tax return must get to HMRC by 31 January 2018. This means allowing time for the postal service to deliver the return and getting proof of posting from the Post Office.
It will also be necessary to enclose a Reasonable Excuse Claim form for not filing online, and to state ‘Case is listed as exclusion’ on that form. If HMRC don’t find a Reasonable Excuse form with a paper tax return received after 31 October 2017, they won’t block the automatic £100 penalty. When that penalty arrives, you can appeal against it, but it’s better to get your claim in first. We can help you complete your tax return and the Reasonable Excuse form.