Late tax return penalties

We've updated this guide on 12th July 2019

Every year almost 1 million people miss the tax filing deadline and have to pay tax return penalties.

There are three different kinds of tax return penalties:

  • a fine for filing late: even if you owe no money in taxes
  • a separate fine for paying your tax bill late
  • and interest, also for paying your tax bill late.

Penalties for late filing

Total fines for filing a year late start at £1,600 but can technically be unlimited – it all depends on how large your original tax bill was:

How late you areFine (each gets added to the others!)
between 1 day and 3 months£100 flat fine
between 3 months and 6 months£10 each day
between 6 months and 12 months£300 flat or 5% of your tax bill (whichever is greater)
over 12 months£300 flat or 5% of your tax bill (whichever is greater)

Penalties for late payment

If you owe a tax bill and miss the payment deadline you will have to pay additional fines:

How late you areLate payment penalty
between 1 day and 30 days0
between 30 days and 6 months5% of your tax bill
between 6 months and 12 monthsanother 5%
over 12 monthsand another 5%

Interest for paying late

This is calculated yearly, and it is (how else) added to your other penalties as well:

Period in which you were lateAnnual interest rate
Since 21 August 20183.25%
21 November 2017 – 20 August 20183%
23 August 2016 – 20 November 20172.75%
29 September 2009 – 22 August 20163%
before 29 September 2009see the full list here

What you can do to reduce your tax return penalties

  1. file it as quickly as possible to stop the fines from adding up
  2. if you have a reasonable excuse (a serious illness, etc.), then appeal the penalty – here’s how to do it
  3. if you can’t afford paying it, file for an extension with HMRC.

Need help with your tax return?

Get your self assessment prepared for you online by certified accountants for £119

Online self assessment preparation assisted by professional accountants

How TaxScouts works

Simple online tax assessment

1. Simple online tax assessment

Our online tax-bot will go over your tax situation and will make sure you won’t overpay your taxes.

Chat to human advisors

2. Chat to human advisors

You can talk to one of our tax assistants at any time during the process when you have any questions.

We’ll sort your documents online

3. We’ll sort your documents online

We’ll tell you exactly what documents you need and sort them for you online. You just upload them or snap a picture with your phone.

Everything gets prepared for you

4. Everything gets prepared for you

Your certified accountant will go over your details & prepare your tax return for you to review. It will be filed on your behalf once you approve it.

"Absolutely outstanding"
Very quick turnaround, all my questions answered almost immediately and brilliant value.
Aimee J
"Brilliant service"
Surprised by how easy the process was. Additionally it's saved me money, so all round a win.
Jo B
"Very fast"
Very fast and gave good advice I will be using every year
Wayne L

Who our service is for

First time tax filers

We have a simple online service that guides you through the entire process. Regardless of your reasons for doing your tax return we'll help you get it done right.

Construction workers

We'll prepare your self assessment and help to maximise your CIS tax refund. We have the lowest fees in the industry and you don't have to pay up front if you're eligible for a refund.

People living overseas

Our service allows people living abroad to prepare their income tax return online. We are able to process all returns regardless of your current country of residence.

Company directors

UK company directors are required to file their self assessment annually. TaxScouts handles this through a simple online process.


Long Lets, Airbnb, Capital Gains. TaxScouts will sort out your self assessment and take away the worry of tracking all the recent tax changes.


TaxScouts ensures the self employed don't overpay on their taxes. We'll help you benefit from all the tax breaks and deductions that can be applied to your return.

And for everyone else who needs to do their self assessment

At TaxScouts we appreciate that tax returns are highly individual. Before you get assigned an accountant we make sure to understand your circumstances and help you build your optimal tax profile.