Help with online tax return filing problems

People who encounter problems when attempting to submit their 31 January tax returns online have been given advice on what steps they can take to help avoid a late filing penalty.

HM Revenue and Customs software has experienced a number of difficulties in recent times, although the system has improved over the past few months.

Nevertheless, some taxpayers may discover that their returns are still turned down by the system.

When this happens, those affected should print off a copy of the error message that accompanies a rejection as proof of their attempt to file.

This should be attached to a form on the HMRC website where they can detail the problem. The form can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/carter/sa-reasonableexcuse.pdf

Anita Monteith, who is tax manager at the tax faculty of the ICAEW, believes that, provided the explanation is valid and reasonable, late filing penalties may not be imposed by HMRC.

Ms Monteith was quoted as saying: “The Revenue is being quite broadminded about computer errors.”