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May Day alert for late tax returns

If you haven’t sent in your 2011/12 tax return online, be warned – you’ll be hit with more penalties from next month if you still haven’t filed.

From 1 May, HMRC will charge a £10 daily penalty for each day your online return is late, up to a maximum of 90 days. This is in addition to the initial £100 late-filing penalty for missing the 31 January filing deadline.

For paper returns, daily penalties started on 1 February, as they were due by the earlier deadline of 31 October. So don’t send a paper return now, as it will trigger an amount equal to, or close to, the maximum daily penalty charge of £900.

Looking ahead, further penalties of at least £300 (or 5 per cent of the tax due, if that is more) will be issued for returns that are 6 and 12 months late.

Anyone who’s received a late-filing penalty, hasn’t yet sent a return, but thinks they don’t need to be in Self Assessment, should call HMRC on 0845 900 0444. If HMRC agrees, the return and any penalty will be cancelled.

The penalties for late Self Assessment returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • after six months, a further penalty of five per cent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • after 12 months, another five per cent or £300 charge, whichever is greater

There are also additional penalties for paying late of five per cent of the tax unpaid at:

  • 30 days
  • six months
  • twelve months.