Tax error letter sent to 12,000 people

27 April 2012

Letters have been sent out by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to 12,000 people in error asking them to pay a penalty fine for a late self-assessment tax return.

These letters were reminding people of a £10 daily fee, which will start on Tuesday, for forms that have still not been returned.

In March, 130,000 people were taken out of the self-assessment tax system as they were no longer eligible for it and received a letter at the time to confirm this. But 12,000 of these people have this week been sent penalty letters.

HMRC has apologised for the mistake and confirmed that anyone who gets one of these letters in error can ignore it. Further letters will be sent out to these people explaining that they won't need to pay anything.

The deadline for online returns was 2 February, and October 2011 for those posted in. Anyone who missed this date was charged an initial fee of £100 and from Tuesday will be charged £10 a day up to a maximum of £900.

"We are very sorry and can reassure these customers that we know who they are and that this letter is incorrect - they do not owe a penalty. We are writing to all of them to apologise and to explain this error," says Andrew Bennett, spokesperson for HMRC.

"It is very unfortunate that this process error has taken the shine off the good news that we have taken 130,000 people out of self assessment," he adds.

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