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Two weeks left until self-assessment tax return deadline

The deadline for self-assessment tax returns for the 2014-15 financial year is now less than a fortnight away on January 31st with taxpayers yet to file their returns encouraged to get their house in order to avoid late filing penalties from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Last year, 890,000 taxpayers missed the deadline and were hit with instant £100 late filing penalties as well as additional penalties for severely late tax returns.

As of last weekend, a third of the 10.2 million Britons required to fill in a self-assessment tax return are yet to submit it and HMRC’s director-general of personal tax, Ruth Owen is calling on taxpayers to act now before it’s too late.

“Our advice is don’t leave it until it’s too late. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and remember our online service is available with helpful advice and handy tips any time of the year,” said Owen.

For those who have never filed their self-assessment online before, it’s not possible to get started with an online tax return submission without an ‘activation code’ – sent in the post by HMRC – which can take at least seven working days to arrive; so it’s imperative that you apply immediately.

On Friday we revealed 10 of the worst excuses HMRC has received for late self-assessment submissions, and the tax authority warns that only legitimate excuses will get taxpayers off the hook from late filing fines.

“Untidy family members and hungry pets are very unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate excuse for completing your tax return late,” added Owen.

“For those who are trying to play the system, while the rest of us do the right thing, the message is clear: submit your tax return online by 31 January or face a fine.

“We’re here to help people in genuine distress, but not to act as a free lender to people who can’t meet their responsibilities to pay their tax.”

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