ATT says self-assessment fine must go

Speaking at the ATT’s annual dinner last week president Trevor Johnson, quoting a recent National Audit Office report on self assessment, said there was no evidence to suggest imposing such penalties ‘encouraged’ the submission of returns on time.

Johnson said all the fines had achieved was ‘probably between 15 million and 20 million pieces of paper in circulation in the two and a half year period covered by the [NAO] report.

But, he added, ‘the lasting achievement was confrontation, frustration and resentment. In fact the complete opposite to what the Revenue is trying to achieve; the image of an enabling organisation.’

Giving impetus to Johnson’s comments, the latest Revenue figures show the number of overdue returns increasing year by year. In November, just 4.2 million returns were filed out of the 9.1 million tax returns sent out, with just 1% of these returned over the internet.

In the place of fine, the ATT said the Revenue should instead bring in a system of positive incentives; Pounds 150 reduction in tax if the return is filed before 30 June, Pounds 100 if before 30 September and Pounds 50 if before 31 December.

A spokesman for the Revenue said there were no plans to scrap the fine.


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