Revenue Tax Penalties. Bad News – It’s All Still “FINE”!

Revenue Tax Penalties. Bad News – It’s All Still “FINE”

For those of us who pay self-employed [Self-Assessment] Income Tax, the important annual deadline dates to remember are

  • Online tax return – January 31
  • First Instalment Payment of Tax – July 31
  • Second Instalment Payment of Tax [and balancing payment] – January 31

For years, the Revenue has stressed the importance of these dates, with advertisements across the media and also with warnings of high penalties if any date is missed.

Very recently the news media in particular the BBC has published stories that these fines will be waived.

A BBC website page link here currently is headed “No £100 fine for late tax returns, says HMRC”.

I have spoken to clients who have read no further than that kind of headline, and who have reached the conclusion that tax deadlines have been abandoned and that really there is no need to bother too much about meeting the dates any more. “After all, the Revenue is absolutely swamped by work so it makes sense if they relax the rules a bit, doesn’t it?”

With the greatest respect to the need to find a catchy headline – as you will note from my own header above – the actual message of the BBC headline is untrue.

In fact, it remains all too likely that the fine will be charged, and also an increased fine if the delay exceeds 3 months.

And the very worst thing the headline “No £100 fine for late tax returns, says HMRC” does, is to give the false impression that if you do miss the deadline, and get a penalty notice, you can ignore the problem. NO. YOU MUST APPEAL, AND GIVE YOUR EXCUSE.

Also there is a deadline for making that appeal.

Also, you will not avoid the penalty unless your excuse is reasonable [in the Revenue’s opinion!].

Here are some genuine responses given to the Revenue – all of them rejected – which I have taken from the website – Enjoy!

  • My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post-box or get an internet signal.
  • I fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
  • Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.
  • I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.
  • A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.
  • I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.
  • My girlfriend’s pregnant.
  • I was in Australia.

There are some more here

Remember, all of this blog relates only to the penalty for late submission of Tax Returns. I am not aware of any relaxation of penalties when the Tax [actual money tax payments] is late.

If you have any queries about tax matters in UK, please contact me. I have many accountancy contacts to whom I can refer you. And of course, if your concerns relate to foreign law or documents, we are here to help – or phone me or Louise +44 (0) 1138160116