700,000 face fines for late tax returns

Tax atop coins

More than 700,000 people face being fined for failing to submit their tax return on time.

The original deadline for filing the online self-assessment was 31 January, however HMRC has extended it to this Saturday, 13 February, for people who have already enrolled for online self-assessment or have requested a new user ID or password for the system.

More than 10 million returns have been completed so far, according to HMRC, but an estimated 710,000 remain outstanding – meaning those who failed to get their returns in on time will now face a financial penalty (outlined below).

However, the number of outstanding returns for this tax year has actually dropped from 730,000 in 2011/12 and from 850,000 in 2010/11.

The busiest day for returns was 31 January when 569,847 were submitted, so the vast majority of people left it right until the last possible moment.

The late-filing penalties are as follows:

  • One day late = A fixed penalty of £100, which applies even if you have no tax to pay or have paid the tax you owe.
  • Three months late = £10 for each following day, up to a 90 day maximum of £900. This is as well as the fixed penalty above.
  • Six months late = £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher. This is as well as the penalties above.
  • 12 months late = £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher. In serious cases you may be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due instead. In some cases the penalties can be even higher than this. These are as well as the penalties above.

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