In most cases, the statutory filing date for a Corporation Tax return is twelve months after the end of the relevant accounting period.
HMRC considers reasonable excuse to be something that stops a company from meeting a tax obligation despite them having taken reasonable care to meet that obligation. HMRC will consider what a reasonable person, who wanted to meet their obligation, would have done in the same circumstances.
Whether a company has a reasonable excuse will depend on the circumstances in which the failure occurred. What is a reasonable excuse for one company may not be a reasonable excuse for another company.
The company must remedy the failure to file as soon as it can reasonably be expected to do so after the excuse has ended.
HMRC have published examples of what might be considered a reasonable excuse. They include:
- One director runs the company, and he (or an immediate family member) dies or suffers a sudden and serious illness close to the filing date. Alternatively, the director has a prolonged and serious illness throughout much of the return period.
- Unavoidable and unexpected absence abroad of the responsible director close to the deadline because of business commitments or domestic emergency.
- Accidental destruction of the records through fire or flood.
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