16:46 PM, 20th February 2012, About 9 years ago
Penalties for £100 are winging their way to 850,000 taxpayers who failed to file their tax returns on time.
Most of the returns will have no excuse for being late and are contributing £85 million to the government’s coffers unnecessarily.
The number is 550,000 down on last year, according to HM Revenue & Customs.
Taxpayers have another week to submit their tax returns to avoid a 5% levy on any tax due.
Penalties will continue to build over the coming months.
Interest is added daily to unpaid tax bills that should have been paid by January 31.
From April 30, late tax returns will attract a £10 a day charge for the next 90 days the return is overdue.
Penalty notices are not going out to taxpayers who filed their returns online on February 1 or 2 due to industrial action by HMRC staff.
Appeals against late assessment by taxpayers who believe they have a reasonable excuse for filing late must be in by March 31.
Reasonable excuse covers family illness, bereavement or a delay in HMRC sending out an online activation code. More information is available from www.hmrc.gov.uk/online/excuse-missed-deadline.htm
HMRC’s Stephen Banyard said: “We want the returns, not the penalties. So anyone who still hasn’t sent theirs should do so as soon as possible.
“People who receive a penalty notice should act now to avoid further penalties. They should send in their return, appeal if they think they have a reasonable excuse, or contact us if they think they shouldn’t have been in self assessment.”
This year is the first of a new tax regime that scrapped the rule for reducing penalties if the tax due was less than £100 or cancelling the penalty if tax due was zero.
Every taxpayer who should have made a tax return but was late has to pay the penalty, regardless of the amount of tax due.
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