HMRC threatens legal action over late tax returns

Tax burden

Taxpayers have been warned they have one month to return late tax returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) if they want to avoid large penalties, and possibly even legal action.

HMRC's Tax Return Initiative, launched on 3 July this year, is aimed at higher-rate taxpayers who pay income tax at 40% and above who have gaps in their self-assessment record for the tax year 2009/10.

"If HMRC has sent you a self assessment tax return or notice to complete a tax return for 2009/10 or earlier and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign offers you a quick and straightforward way to bring your tax affairs up to date," says Marian Wilson, head of HMRC campaigns.

Penalties

By coming forward before the deadline, people will receive better repayment terms and lower fines. Otherwise, they could face penalties of up to 100% of the tax due, and even criminal investigation.

Wilson adds: "If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don't worry. If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments."

Higher-rate taxpayers who are affected will receive reminders from HMRC to submit tax returns and pay what they owe before the 2 October deadline.

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