Taxman in double filing whammy

Taxman in double filing whammy

Are tax advisers set for a double-whammy on tax filing?

With deadlines for filing set to be brought back by several months in 2008,
suggestions have now been made that late filing penalties could go up to as much
as £1,000.

No one from government, to be fair, has said anything about penalties going
up, but it is not an unreasonable prospect: ‘The late filing penalty is £100.
Although we do not want to pay that kind of fine, it’s actually not that much
money,’ Francesca Lagerberg, chairman of the tax faculty at the ICAEW, has said.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable for HMRC to raise the penalty. Earlier filing is
another thing altogether.

A host of bodies have now gathered to try and prevent the government from
putting the plan into practise. The campaign has even united the ICAEW with
Bruce Lawson, one of the institute’s fiercest critics, who helped frustrate its
planned merger with CIPFA.

There is still time to persuade the government to change its mind. The
institutes have submitted representations, and, Lagerberg believes, will decide
in the next few months.

‘My clients struggle with the end of January and I don’t see them managing
with September. It’s a big ask,’ Lagerberg told the Accountancy Age Conference
last week.

Lagerberg thinks a delay to the new filing requirement, or possibly the
announcement of some formal consultation process (of which there has been none
up until now), could be likely.

If the profession gets its way on deadlines, might that not give HMRC more
moral authority to push ahead on penalties?

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