Taxation – Revenue relaxes fines

Tax experts are locked in delicate negotiations with the Inland Revenue in a bid to extend its definition of ‘reasonable excuse’ for late-filed self-assessment forms.

The fight continues despite a penalty amnesty for taxpayers making simple ‘oversights’. Taxpayers who missed the deadline because their form had to be returned for a small correction now have until Wednesday to file.

John Andrews, the Chartered Institute of Taxation’s president, wanted the Revenue to accept responsibility for many of the one mil-lion taxpayers who missed Saturday’s deadline. The Revenue only accepted forms late in cases of serious illness, death, fire, flood or theft.

The CIoT campaign adds weight to the stories of dozens of angry accountants who contacted Accountancy Age after we revealed the Revenue would accept returns on Monday. Readers said the extension gave valuable breathing space as they struggled to cope.

Andrews said: ‘In a lot of cases the Revenue caused practitioners problems and there must be recognition of that, otherwise the system will be clogged with appeals. With goodwill and a lot of responsibility delegated to local offices, more aggravation can be avoided.’

Richard Shooter, of the English ICA’s self-assessment monitoring group, called for a light touch: ‘Where genuine effort was made to get the return in on time, the penalty should be rebated.’

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