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HMRC internal manual

Company Taxation Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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CTSA: penalties for late returns: concessionary period: 'last business day' rule

The ‘last business day’ rule in ESC/B46 means that you treat a return received in the office on a non-business day as if you received it on the next business day.

So, for example, you treat a return you receive on any of the days in the left-hand column below as if you received it on the day in the right-hand column below.

Return delivered to or left at the office on To be treated as if received on
Saturday 7 October  
Sunday 8 October Monday 9 October
Saturday 14 October  
Sunday 15 October Monday 16 October
Monday 25 December  
Tuesday 26 December Wednesday 27 December - even if that is a privilege holiday - see below

Note that:

  • working overtime on a non-business day does not mean that the day should be regarded as a business day,
  • the rule applies to the individual national holidays of the different parts of the UK, as much as to the common holidays.

For example, in Scotland

Return delivered to or left at the office on Will be treated as if received on
Monday 1 January 1996  
Tuesday 2 January 1996 Wednesday 3 January 1996 because Tuesday 2 January is a Bank Holiday in Scotland.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you treat returns you receive at the office on Monday 1 January as received on Tuesday 2 January because that is the next business day.

Note: The rule applies also to any local holidays that the Revenue shares with the local community. For example, the Glasgow offices normally close on the first Monday of the Glasgow Fair fortnight.

The exception

There is an important exception to the rule. This is when you receive a return on a day on which the office is closed but which is not a Saturday, Sunday, Bank Holiday or local public holiday. The most likely such day is a Civil Service privilege holiday. When you receive a return on a privilege holiday, you treat it as received on that day, and not on the next working day.