Self-assessment tax returns – An Overview on Penalties and Surcharges

2nd February 2016

No-one enjoys incurring penalties for late payment or filing and it is in everyone’s interest to avoid such fines. However, unfortunately it is sometimes inevitable due to unforeseen circumstances or events. This blog will give you an overview of the specific penalties for late payment and/or filing of your self-assessment tax return.

Anyone who needs to send a tax return and misses the deadline, by up to 3 months, will automatically be given a £100 penalty. The individual will be liable to additional penalties if the tax return is over 3 months late or if they pay their tax liability late.

Below is a worked example of the difference between leaving it 1 month and 3 months after the deadline:

Date SATR sent and tax bill paid




Tax liability




Late payment interest




Late filing penalty




Penalty for paying your bill late




Estimate of the total owed





As you can see from the example above, it is in your interest to file your tax return and pay and tax liability due as soon as possible, as ultimately, the longer you leave it the more interest and penalties will be accumulated. Also note that the higher the tax liability, the higher the interest will be. If in doubt, speak to us as soon as possible so we can work together to minimalize any additional fines.

You may be able to get more time to pay or pay in installments, so always contact us so we can liaise with HMRC on your behalf. HMRC will take enforcement action to recover any money owed to them, including taking you to court and ultimately bankruptcy if applicable.

You must remember that although us, as accountants, are acting on behalf of you, as the client, it is the client that is ultimately responsible for the accuracy their tax returns, calculations and payments of any tax due. In addition, it is the client who is legally liable to any penalties or errors within the paperwork.

For more information, please call 01273 701200 or email

Gemma Stephens, Accounts Assistant | Brighton Accountants
Author: Gemma Stephens, Accounts Assistant and member of the Taxation team
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal, belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Plus Accounting. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. 




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