Half a million incur late tax return penalties

by Calum Fuller

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15 Aug 2012

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ABOUT HALF A MILLION self-assessment taxpayers who are still yet to file their 2010/11 tax returns are in line to receive additional penalty letters this week.

The proportion of outstanding returns has nearly halved in 2012, down to 5.9%, compared to 10.7% last year, with 518,000 fewer penalties issued as a result and 273,000 taken out of self-assessment.

Tardy taxpayers can expect a minimum penalty of £1,200, comprising the maximum £900 in daily non-filing penalties, and a further penalty of £300 or 5% of tax due – whichever is higher.

The new penalty system was introduced in April 2011 in an attempt to boost the incentive to file on time and bring down the cost of chasing missing submissions.

Anyone receiving a penalty can appeal if they feel they have reasonable grounds to do so, such as illness or bereavement.

HM Revenue & Customs' director-general of personal tax Stephen Banyard said: "We want the returns, not the penalties. This year, half a million more people have filed their return – which means we are issuing 44% fewer penalties.

"Where someone has a reasonable excuse for not sending a return on time, we will waive the penalty. We also recognise that there will be some people within this group who don't need to be in self-assessment, and we will be happy to remove them from the self-assessment system and cancel their penalty."

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