Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Returns: filing paper returns: 31 October deadline: receipt dates and the issue of penalties - explanation

Any paper return delivered after 31 October is late. We do not know if a return was delivered on time if delivered in person and found in an HMRC post box on 1 November. As the date of delivery is uncertain, we give the benefit of the doubt to the customer by assuming that it was delivered before midnight on 31 October.

There can be no uncertainty about the date of delivery of returns posted in an HMRC letterbox after our offices open on 1 November or received in that day’s post. The legislation applying to returns for 2010-2011 onwards defines the penalty date as the date on which a penalty is first payable for failing to file a return on time. The penalty date is the day after the filing date which, in the case of most paper returns, will be 1 November. The clear terms of the legislation mean that returns received on 1 November will attract a late filing penalty. The previous practice based on the Special Commissioner’s decision in the case of Steeden v Carver (Sp C 212) no longer applies.