Tax return dodgers into £10 daily fines
Happy Mayday. A day when Spring is sure to have sprung and hairy men in questionable attire dance with each other jingling around a large pole. No? Just Andy and Mof then.
However 1 May is also the day by which you really need to have sorted your tax affairs out, as if you still haven’t got round to completing your 2011/12 tax return, which was due (online) by 31 January 2013, today is the day HMRC start getting serious with you. From today, every day your tax return is late will incur a £10 daily fine on top of the £100 you got for missing the original deadline.
Although the fines will still be payable if you owe no tax, they will not be chargeable if you did not need to complete a tax return. If you think this might be the case, you should call HMRC on 0845 900 0444 and get them to cancel the penalties. Please note, however, that telling HMRC that you don't need a return for 2011/12 does not mean they will not keep sending you one year after year, no matter how many times they have to cancel the penalties. Sophistication is not the name of the game here.
If you do need to complete a return, you had better get your skates on and do it as quickly as possible- and certainly before 31 July as an additional £300 fine (or 5% of tax due if greater) will then be charged. Total fines to 31 July, even if you owe them no money, would therefore total £1,300 (£100 January penalty plus maximum £900 in £10 daily fines plus £300 July penalty), going up to £1,600 if you are a whole year late with your return. If you owe tax you will also have additional 5% of tax outstanding penalties charged on 28 February, 31 July and the following 31 January.
However, if you just can’t get to grips with an online return do not send a paper one in- these were due by 31 October 2012, so the daily penalties will already total £900. It would probably be genuinely cheaper to get an accountant to do it for you.