HMRC scrap late tax return fines for some

Knowledge base from Boox

By Jonathan London on 1st June 2013

HMRC scrap late tax return fines for some

Editor’s note (January 2018): This action by HMRC only applied to self-assessments submitted for the tax year the article relates to. HMRC have not repeated this in subsequent years.  

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will not fine some individuals who submitted their tax return after the deadline, providing they have a valid reason.

A memo leaked to the Daily Telegraph shows officials at HMRC have been told not to administer £100 fines for people who have a “reasonable” excuse for missing the January 31st self-assessment deadline.

HMRC to scrap tax returns

The move applies to individuals who have mitigating circumstances and have filed an appeal with HMRC after they were hit with the charge.

According to the BBC, an HMRC spokesman said the body wants to divert more resources towards “investigating major tax avoidance and evasion”.

Around 890,000 people could be affected by the decision, but presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Money Box show Paul Lewis warned that HMRC’s move “isn’t an amnesty”.

“If you filed late and you’ve got a penalty and you haven’t appealed then you will have to pay,” he noted.

The news comes just days after the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group criticised the automatic £100 fines for late returns, issued regardless of whether there is a legitimate reason for missing the deadline.

It urged HMRC to look at its penalties system and develop a way of distinguishing between deliberate failures to comply and a genuine, occasional mistake.

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