We have had two cases this past tax return season where we have received late filing penalties for clients despite us submitting their 2013 tax returns online before the 31 January 2014 deadline.

Thinking these were simply an HMRC error, we appealed against the penalties and expected them to be cancelled. 

Much to our surprise not only were we told that the penalties stood, but that this was because in both cases the Revenue had received a “paper” tax return after the due date for submission of 31 October 2013.  It appears that even though the usual online method of submission for each client had been done within the deadline, the submission of the paper return automatically triggered a late filing penalty on the day that it was received.

Obviously we are taking these cases as far as we are able to, as this seems a ridiculously harsh standpoint from HMRC, but please beware that a simple error in sending a return directly to HMRC rather than back to us, can result in a penalty even when it appears that the taxpayer has complied with the legislation.

If you have any queries about this please contact Alison Headey either by telephoning the office or by email at

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