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A million people hit with £100 late tax return fine

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
03/02/2020
More than 950,000 people have received an automatic £100 penalty by HM Revenue & Customs for missing the tax return deadline on 31 January.

A record breaking 11.1 million tax returns were submitted ahead of the deadline on Friday, with 702,171 on the day itself, and 26,562 waiting until the last hour.

However, 958,296 taxpayers missed the cut-off date. As a result, an initial £100 fixed penalty is applied, even if there’s no tax to pay or if the tax due is paid on time.

For late filers, the message now is to submit your tax return as soon as possible.

This is because after three months (1 May), additional penalties of £10 per day may be charged, up to a maximum of £900.

After six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater, is applied. If you still don’t submit your tax return, after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater, is applied.

HMRC also applies additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months. Interest is also charged on all late payments.

It seems the fines were enough to spur some people to complete a tax return even though they had no need, with HMRC figures revealing 362,926 ‘voluntary’ and late returns were filed this year.

In total, 10.4 million returns were filed online, the highest number to date.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: “It’s great to see that the majority of customers have submitted and paid their tax returns before 31 January. While few people enjoy the process it’s good to get it out the way and know you have contributed towards our vital public services. I’d like to thank everyone who filed and paid on time, but anyone yet to file or pay should contact HMRC straight away because we are here to help.”

HMRC said it will treat those with genuine excuses leniently if they have missed the deadline, while it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and on deliberate tax evaders.

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