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No £100 fine for late tax returns, says HMRC

HM Revenue & Customs have announced that individuals and small businesses who missed the deadline for filing their tax returns for the 2013/14 tax year have been let off the £100 fine, affecting up to 890,000 people. They have said they want to focus more and more of their resources on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing.

It’s important to make clear that the deadline for appealing against these fines has now passed. Those who have already appealed will only be let off the fine if they’ve now sent in their return, paid the tax due, appealed and have a good reason for sending it in late.  A good reason could include any of the following:

  • the recent death of a partner,
  • an unexpected stay in hospital,
  • computer and software failures,
  • problems with HMRC’s website,
  • a fire,
  • unpredictable postal delays.

In the vast majority of cases HMRC will be accepting the customer’s grounds for appeal, and will cancel the penalty.

This is part of HMRC’s planned, proportionate approach to penalty appeals, particularly for small businesses and individuals.

The bottom line is that they don’t want to charge penalties, but just want the tax return and the tax in on time.

In addition, the more complete picture that digital technology gives means, in the longer term, they want to move away from sending out penalty notices as a mechanical reaction to a single missed deadline. They will be able to track patterns of behaviour and only focus on those who persistently fail to pay or send their tax returns on time.

Original articles and further information available on:

Further details also taken from the CPAA.

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