Revenue to launch blitz on tax returns

The tax industry has been called into secret talks with
HM Revenue & Customs
to discuss how the taxman’s penalty regime can be used to plug the £3.6bn
gap in the public accounts.

Following the talks insiders believe that chancellor Gordon Brown will unveil
a set of harsher penalties for late self-assessment filing and unpaid tax in his
pre-budget report, the

It is understood that the Revenue will hike the penalty for late returns from
£100 to £250. Taxpayers who then find that they do not owe any tax will not be
able to pay the fine.

Individuals who unwittingly pay too little tax could also find themselves
paying heavy penalties. In the worst case scenario someone who underpaid by
£3,000 could pay up £6,000 in tax.

‘We are expecting a dramatic regime change both in terms of how much people
can be charged and when penalties can be levied,’ one source was quoted as

Anita Monteith from the
ICAEW said she was
concerned that vulnerable groups such as pensioners could find themselves facing
late-payment charges.

It is estimated that toughening up the penalty regime could net £1bn.

Further reading:

£1,000 penalty looms for late accounts

Deadline looms for help with self-assessment

Concern over HMRC’s tax returns pilot

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