Returns: filing paper returns: 31 October deadline: receipt dates and the issue of penalties
The following explains when to treat returns as received on time and the circumstances which trigger a non-filing penalty.
- Unless the notice to deliver a return was given after 31 July, paper returns must be delivered on or before 31 October following the end of the tax year. Customers unable to meet the 31 October deadline still have until 31 January to deliver an online return
- Paper returns delivered before midnight on 31 October are on time
- Returns delivered by hand and found in an HMRC office letter box when first opened on the first working day after 31 October will be treated as delivered on 31 October for all purposes. They will not attract a late filing penalty and HMRC cannot give a notice of enquiry after 31 October of the following year. The return will be date stamped with the day it has been treated as received in accordance with this paragraph
- Returns delivered by hand or received in the post on 1 November after the relevant office has opened will attract a late filing penalty. Under the late filing penalty regime, which applies to returns for 2010-2011 and later years, 1 November is the penalty date for paper returns issued at the normal time (notice to deliver a return given on or before 31 July). The date of delivery will be 1 November, which means that HMRC can give a notice of enquiry up to and including the 31 January next following the first anniversary of the day on which the return was delivered. The return will be date stamped with the day it was received
- Returns delivered by hand or received in the post after 1 November will attract a late filing penalty. HMRC can give a notice of enquiry up to and including the quarter day (31 January, 30 April, 31 July, 31 October) next following the first anniversary of the day on which the return was delivered. The return will be date stamped with the day it was received
- There are some scenarios in which a return cannot be filed online (for example for Trustees of Registered Pension Schemes (SA970) and Non-Resident Companies (SA700)). Where a return cannot be filed online a paper return delivered after 31 October, but on or before 31 January, will be treated as delivered on time. This means that the return will not attract a penalty for failing to file on time. HMRC will be able to issue a notice of enquiry up to the end of the period of 12 months after the day on which the return was delivered
- Where the notice to file a return was issued after 31 July, the deadline for filing a paper return will be 3 months and 7 days after the date the notice was issued and the deadline for an online return will be the later of 3 months and 7 days after the notice was issued or the 31 January following the tax year
For further information about the reasons for the approach outlined above, please refer to SAM120650.