Tax affairs when you're affected by cancer
It can be helpful to look into your taxes when you're considering managing your money day-to-day.
If your earnings fall or stop part way through the tax year, you may have paid too much income tax on your earnings, savings or other income. If this is the case, you may be able to claim a tax rebate. You don’t have to wait until the end of the tax year to do this.
To check whether you’re due a tax rebate, contact HM Revenue & Customs.
If you have problems making a tax rebate claim and your income is low, you can request free help from TaxAid or, if you are aged 60 or older, Tax Help for Older People.
Most people in employment pay their income tax through Pay As You Earn (PAYE). HMRC uses a tax code to tell your employer or pension provider how much tax to deduct from your wages or pension. This means the correct amount of tax should be taken automatically from your pay or pension before you get it.
However, mistakes are not uncommon and it’s up to you to make sure that you pay the correct amount of tax.
Once every three years or so, you may be sent a tax review form P810, so that HMRC can check it has the right details. You can also request this from HMRC if you’d like them to check your tax code is correct. You should send this back as soon as you can orgive the details by phone using the number on the form.
To discuss any problem sending back a tax review form P810, contact the tax office detailed on the front of the form.
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If you’re self-employed, have a buy-to-let property or have complicated tax affairs, you may be asked to fill in a tax return each year. This can be a paper form or an online tax return.
There are strict deadlines for sending back (‘filing’) tax returns.
The deadlines are:
31 October for paper returns (if you miss this, you will have to file online to avoid a fine)
31 January for online returns.
If you miss the January deadline or if you send in a paper return after the October deadline, there is an automatic fine of £100.
This happens even if you have no tax to pay or have paid the tax you owe. Further fines will be added after three months.
There are also set dates for paying any tax you owe, and you’ll be charged interest and penalties if you miss those dates.
You can appeal against fines and penalties but you have to show that you had a reasonable excuse for missing a deadline.
What counts as a reasonable excuse depends on the facts of each case. However, HMRC say an illness must be so serious that it prevents you controlling your business affairs (for example, a coma or stroke).
If you have a lengthy stay in hospital, HMRC would normally expect you to make arrangements for your tax return to be completed for you. The illness of your partner or a close relative may not be accepted as a reasonable excuse. For more information, contact the Self-Assessment Tax Helpline on 0845 900 0444 or visit hmrc.gov.uk/sa