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Mayday! Late returns could cost taxpayers £1,000

Tuesday 18 April 2017, Taxpayers who missed the January deadline to submit their self assessment tax returns for 2015/16 have until 30 April 2017 to file their forms to HMRC or face additional daily fines. Last year, 870,000 missed the 31 January deadline and their immediate fines earned HMRC £87m – the equivalent of 73.1 million packets of HobNobs.

Sarah Ghaffari, ICAEW Technical Tax Manager, said:

“Over ten million people filed their tax returns before 31 January 2017, however for those who missed the January deadline, each will face an instant £100 fine. Any latecomers now have until 30 April 2017 to comply, and then they could face additional fines of £10 a day.

“Although £10 doesn’t seem like much, it quickly adds up. The additional fines could reach up to £900, leaving people with a total bill of £1,000 by the end of July. That’s more than the cost of a new iPhone. What’s more, anyone who hasn’t complied by then could face an additional penalty – 5 percent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater.”

Sarah adds: “If you haven’t submitted your 2015/16 return yet, you should send it online – if you send in a paper return at this stage, the penalties will be even higher as the deadline for paper returns was 31 October 2016.

“If you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for filing your tax return late you shouldn’t face penalties but you will need to provide evidence of the circumstances that delayed your return, which must have applied since January 2017. Excuses like being away on business or a dog eating your return won’t be accepted, but if you were suffering from a serious illness you’ll just need to file your return as soon as you can.”

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