Tax and Benefits service helps client with late filing penalty

This client attended an Advice NI Tax & Benefits Service outreach advice clinic in a stressed and anxious state.

The client was a single, self-employed cleaner earning roughly £8,300 per year. He had outstanding late filing penalties owed to HMRC amounting to £5,415.07 in total.

The client had submitted all tax returns at this point and was now up to date with his accounts. 

At this time the client was also seeing a debt adviser who was dealing with other debts from credit cards and mortgage arrears of £3,000. The client was considering the possibility of bankruptcy.

The Tax & Benefits adviser investigated further to see if there were any external factors in the client's circumstances that could have led to the failure to supply tax returns and the spiralling of debt. 

The client claimed he had witnessed many close family members and friends die as a result of suicide. His father-in-law became very ill as a result of alcoholism and had lived with the client and his family. His death led to a breakdown of the client’s marriage. The Client's son had tried to take his own life around this time. The client then had two accidents at work resulting in multiple injuries which meant he could not work but he was not eligible for statutory sick pay. 

After gathering this information from the client, the adviser decided to appeal the late filing penalties on the grounds that this would constitute a reasonable excuse. 

HMRC reviewed the client's tax records and accepted the appeal against the penalties and cancelled this outstanding amount owed to HMRC. 

The client was extremely grateful and relieved at this outcome.