Phantom self-assessment penalty notices prompt calls for compensation

The demands called for £100 penalties from taxpayers for late submission of their self-assessment returns even when they had been submitted early in many cases.

Richard Shooter, chairman of the English ICA tax monitoring group, said: ‘It is a situation where compensation should apply. Also, clients can be confused. I am looking for letters of apology to clients and other people. It would make it clear that it is the Revenue’s fault and no penalty will apply.’

Apparently caused by computer glitches at local tax offices which handle both individual and corporate self-assessment returns, the Revenue is churning out penalty notices for taxpayers who in fact met the 31 January filing deadline.

The errors following the Revenue’s issuing of tax returns with the wrong date printed on them last year.

‘This is the third year of self-assessment now. It is not acceptable,’ Shooter added.

According to Revenue statistics, around 1.2 million taxpayers missed the deadline this year.

Saffery Champness national tax partner Peter Horsman said the mistakes were an unfair consequence of the ‘dumbing-down’ of the tax system.

‘The error might have been triggered as a result of the Revenue being bombarded with returns in the days before the deadline, which ended up sitting on a desk waiting to be processed,’ he said.

EXCLUSIVE: Inland Revenue churning out penalty notices to taxpayers who met deadline

Related reading