HMRC has begun issuing hundreds of thousands of penalty notices to those who have failed to submit tax returns on time, it has announced.
Although the number of penalties fell by over half a million from last year, 850,000 letters will still be sent over the next two weeks outlining the £100 late-filing penalty.
The 31 January deadline for online returns was this year extended by two days following strike action at HMRC’s call centres, and those who submitted their tax returns on 1 or 2 February will not receive penalties.
Appeals against the fines should be made in writing by 31 March. Reasonable excuses for failing to submit tax returns in time, such as serious illness, family bereavement or a delay in HMRC sending out online activation codes, will be individually considered.
HMRC has warned those who have yet to file their 2010/11 tax returns to do so as soon as possible, or risk additional penalties. Returns that are still not received after three months will be liable for the £100 fine, as well as £10 for every additional late day accrued, and risk a maximum fine of £1,600.
HMRC’s acting director general, Steven Banyard, said: “We want the returns, not the penalties. So anyone who still hasn’t sent theirs should do so as soon as possible.
“People who receive a penalty notice should act now to avoid further penalties. They should send in their return, appeal if they think they have a reasonable excuse, or contact us if they think they shouldn’t have been in Self Assessment.”
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