July 25 2017 Latest news:

No mercy for tardy tax payers

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With the January 31 deadline looming, tax payers have been told that HMRC may be in a much less tolerant mood than during the depths of the recession.

Philip Hunt, manager of private client tax services at PKF, said: “I think the message going out from government is to bring in every penny possible.

“Whereas the taxman might have been a little more flexible during the tough economic era of the past two years, I don’t think that approach will prevail this year.

“We are starting to emerge from recession and we are all aware of the political pressures on finance.

“Things that might have been overlooked or waived in the past, are unlikely be overlooked this time around.

“So while the reminder to submit returns and payments on time is an annual one, it is particularly important to keep HMRC happy this year.

“The best advice is to make sure you meet the deadline – or you will almost certainly pay the price.”

If HMRC receives online self-assessment tax returns after the filing deadline, there is an automatic £100 penalty.

It may also decide to estimate the tax owed and request payment, adding interest to what is due.

Money owed for the tax year 2009-10 (ending on April 5, 2010) must be paid by January 31.

The only excuse considered for late returns is that the delay is ‘completely due to an exceptional or major unexpected event that is outside your control.’

According to research by Unbiased.co.uk, this year taxpayers will pay out £442m in penalties on account of late returns, miscalculations and surcharges on unpaid tax, up £12m on 2010 figures.

Karen Barrett, chief executive of Unbiased, said: “In this tough economic climate, where money is tighter than ever, we are urging consumers to take tax action and plan carefully.

“You may already consult an accountant for tax advice, but to ensure you are managing your personal finances as tax efficiently as possible, an independent financial adviser can offer invaluable help.”

To register for online filing, visit the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/online.

Help is available from the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa or from the self assessment helpline on 0845 9000 444.


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