Some 10% of SA returns expected to be submitted late, will immediately incur a £100 fine, as well as possible daily fines of up to £60.
As part of the Revenue’s attempts to clamp down on tax evasion and avoidance, it said it will automatically assume those that file late will have something to hide.
The assumption has prompted deep concern among tax experts. Frank Haskew, senior technical manager at the ICAEW tax faculty, this is not the case. He said that people file returns at the last minute to avoid the likelihood of an investigation due to submitting returns early.
‘It’s pretty par for the course,’ he said. ‘The Revenue states that early submission will not increase the likelihood of an investigation. But people will still do it at the last minute.’
He also said that the daily fines were a threat rather than a reality, and does not expect them to come into force until the summer.
A spokesman for the Inland Revenue told Accountancy Age that 5,476,170 returns had been received by 3 January this year. That would leave well over 3.5 million to be returned in less than a month.
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