May Day Tax Return Penalties

Did you know you can now be charged up to £1,600 or more in fines for the late filing of your self assessment tax return?

Although a record 9.61 million people filed their self assessment tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at time this year - a 3% year-on-year increase - many thousands of self-employed professionals who missed the 31st January deadline were hit with an instant £100 late-filing penalty.

To date, an estimated 650,000 to 850,000 taxpayers have still yet to file their self assessment tax returns for the 2011-12 year. These late returns will be incurring additional daily fines from 1st May; on top of the initial, automatic £100 penalty for missing the initial 31st January cut-off.

And persistent delays in filing now lead to additional fines; regardless of how much tax you need to pay. Take a look at the new penalty regime below and bear in mind that they are in addition to one another; not in place.

One day late

  • Automatic £100 late-filing fine. This applies even if you have no tax to pay or have paid the tax you owe

Three months late

  • Tax returns filed more than three months late will receive additional daily penalties of £10 per day
  • These daily penalties are capped at £900

Six months late

  • Tax returns filed more than six months late will receive an additional penalty of five per cent of the tax due or £300 - whichever is greater

12 months late

  • Tax returns filed more than a year late will receive an additional penalty of five per cent of the tax due or £300 - whichever is greater

Reasonable excuses for appealing late-filing penalties

  • Life-threatening illness
  • Death of a partner or family member shortly before deadline
  • Unforeseen postal delays
  • Misplacement of vital documentation due to natural disaster
  • Late receipt of HMRC online service activation code

How to appeal a penalty

If you feel you have a valid excuse for missing the self assessment tax return deadline it is important to do the following:

Visit HMRC or call the Self Assessment helpline on 0845 9000 444.

Do you need to complete a Tax Return?

Last year, 300,000 individuals contacted HMRC after the tax return deadline to take themselves out of the self assessment process and therefore avoid the penalty. If you have been issued with a tax return but you believe it isn't required, it is important to contact the self assessment helpline immediately.

By Jo Nockels
Last updated May 2013

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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