Don’t risk a £100 fine - one week left to file paper tax returns

24 October 2017

Over one million people who submit paper tax returns have seven days left to send their documents to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

While most people now complete their tax return online, HMRC says about 1.2 million self-employed people still send their return by post.

The deadline for submitting a 2016/17 paper tax return is Tuesday 31 October 2017.

Those who miss the paper deadline are still able to submit their return electronically until Wednesday 31 January 2018. However, those doing so for the first time are encouraged to register soon as the online registration process can take several weeks to complete.

Those who fail to submit their tax return in time are liable to receive a fine of £100 or more.

Who needs to submit a tax return?

Most people who do not pay tax through an employer are required to file a tax return each year. This includes:

  • the self-employed
  • those earning more than £10,000 from savings, investments or dividends
  • people who made profits from sales. Such as shares, a second home or other chargeable assets and need to pay capital gains tax
  • those with untaxed income from abroad
  • people whose taxable income was over £100,000
  • those who have received a P800 from HMRC saying they didn’t pay enough tax last year.

A full list is available on the HMRC website.

‘Make doubly sure the information is correct’

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, head of taxation at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is encouraging people to submit their return as early as possible.

“While the majority of people now complete their return online there is still a sizeable number who choose the paper method. It’s important you get your return in on time, even if you believe you have no tax to pay. Late paper returns will have to be filed or incur a fine of at least £100.

“As well as making sure your return is on time, make doubly sure the information is correct. HMRC will fine or even look to prosecute you if they believe you have deliberately given incorrect information.”

Mr Roy-Chowdhury adds: “The paper deadline is particularly important this year for those using older computers and browsers, as HMRC systems will now only allow filing of online returns through more recent technology. While the move to more secure browsers is a sensible one, it may come as an unwelcome shock to those who might be faced with upgrading technology that they don’t really understand or feel comfortable if they miss the paper deadline.”

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