Self-assessment taxpayers have just hours left to file returns on time

by The Technical Blogs

Self-assessment taxpayers have just hours left to file their online returns – or face a £100 fine.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is expecting more than 12.1 million tax returns to be filed for the 2022-23 tax year, along with any payment that is owed.

Missing the deadline, at midnight on January 31, could result in an initial £100 fine, potentially followed by further penalties.

The most recent figures issued by HMRC show that, as of January 23, more than 8.3 million online returns had been received, with 3.8 million people yet to file.

Recent figures from HMRC showed that 4,757 people filed their tax returns on Christmas Day 2023.

People who are unable to pay in full may be able to set up a “time to pay” arrangement.

HMRC has said it will consider a customer’s reasons for not being able to meet the deadline. Those who provide a reasonable excuse may avoid a penalty.

Dawn Register, head of tax dispute resolution at BDO, said new self-assessment filers “could include parents claiming child benefit whose salaries crossed the £50,000 threshold for the first time in the 2022-23 tax year and who will have to repay some or all of their benefit through the high income child benefit charge”.

She added: “They might be higher earners whose salaries topped £100,000 or pensioners who earned more than their savings allowance because of rising interest rates.

There is the risk of a £100 fine even if there is no tax to pay, and penalties can mount up if returns are more than three months late

Mark Collins, Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management

“Alternatively, they could be working people whose side hustle earnings were above £1,000 during the tax year.”

A survey for Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management indicated that nearly a fifth (19%) of working adults have some form of self-employed income.

The survey was carried out by Opinium among 2,000 UK adults in January.

Mark Collins, head of tax at Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management said: “HMRC says that those with a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline may avoid penalties, but there is the risk of a £100 fine even if there is no tax to pay, and penalties can mount up if returns are more than three months late, with additional penalties for paying outstanding tax late.”

After three months the penalties for late returns include additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900.

After six months there could be a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is higher.

And after 12 months there could be another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is more.

Scammers will also use the deadlines such as self-assessment to prey on people with threats that they must stump up money for a bogus tax bill or fake offers of a tax rebate.

People have also been warned to watch out for scam texts, emails and phone calls from fraudsters.

HMRC previously said it received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the 12 months to September 2023, of which 58,000 were offering fake tax rebates.

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