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reasonable excuse?

client diagnosed with cancer in last 18 months plus covid

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hi

Client has not filed his tax return for 2019/20 and been penalised by HMRC. He was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago and been constantly in and out of hospitals (4 months) out of which in intensive care for 8 weeks, multiple operations and on top of all that suffered covid for 45 days from Jan-21 to March-21. We need to make an appeal on grounds of reanable excuse for the penalty imposed so far £100. Obviously the tax return has not been filed yet.  Do you think that HMRC will waive the penalty as well as other penalties to come until such time as and when the taxpayer's reasonable excuse ceases or will they deny that saying that for such an long ongoing condition he should have made arrangements to fulfil his tax obligations? also, the appeal is outside the 4 monhts time limit. thanks in advance.

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By sanjay100
09th Jul 2021 12:52

I don't think I have failed in any penalty appeal I have made to HMRC.

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By Tom Cross
09th Jul 2021 13:12

From my experience, if your client has encountered anxiety and, or, depression and you include those details, the appeal is likely to pass unchallenged.

I would have genuinely thought that the diagnosis may well have led to the above conditions.

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Replying to Tom Cross:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Jul 2021 13:18

So you don't think of themselves the cancer and covid are enough? Harsh.

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Replying to Tax Dragon:
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By Tom Cross
09th Jul 2021 13:58

An odd response. The last thing I intended was to cause offence.

I offered a commentary, from experience, nothing more, nothing less. Having known victims of both cancer, in all it's myriad (horrible) forms and Covid-19 (a dreadful and cruel virus) I wouldn't dare to draw comparisons.

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Replying to Tom Cross:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Jul 2021 14:16

It was just that we had been told about two diagnoses (and the question was about reasonable excuse based on those two diagnoses) and your reply was about a different condition/diagnosis that the OP had not mentioned.

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By SXGuy
09th Jul 2021 14:34

Think you'll find the comment re anxiety and stress was based on success of the appeal if the op did not think cancer would be a good enough reason. There was no intention to offend anyone. It's pretty obvious.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Tax Dragon
09th Jul 2021 15:04

I wasn't offended.

Except at the apparent suggestion that it's not possible to get cancer and not get depressed. In fact, not getting depressed can help with the battle against this disease. And as half of us will get it, starting with the idea that depression is an inseparable bedfellow might be less than helpful.

Likewise I'm not causing offence.

I hope.

I was simply trying to bring the thread back to the situation that the OP is dealing with, in which a client has lost large chunks of time to hideous diseases, and doing so without wishing more ill on the unfortunate client. FWIW, I would imagine HMRC would accept the claim without any mention of anxiety or depression being made therein.

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By kestrepo
09th Jul 2021 13:29

I am sure that they will rescind the penalty given the circumstances. I would be surprised if they offered or accepted an open ended solution though. Despite the clear difficulties, stresses and strains if a return can't be filed now then when?

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By Duggimon
09th Jul 2021 14:02

Why not file with estimated figures and amend later? I would expect the appeal will succeed but I don't think there's any reason to leave it open, provided you disclose the estimated nature of the figures. You must have some idea of the figures, no?

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By K81
09th Jul 2021 14:21

I believe that HMRC will not consider the penalty until the tax return has been filed.
From a common sense & compassionate point of view you would hope that the appeal would be accepted.

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By SteveHa
23rd Nov 2021 08:45

HMRC will not even consider an appeal until the Return is filed. That's your first step.

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