Late-return fine of 100, even if taxman owes you


Taxpayers who do not owe tax, or are even due a rebate from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), will be fined £100 for the first time this year if they do not complete a return by January 31.

According to UHY Hacker Young, the accountancy group, in previous years, taxpayers who did not owe tax were not fined if they did not submit a completed tax return by the deadline. HMRC has issued around 10 million self-assessment returns this year. Last year, approximately 1.4 million tax returns were not completed by the January deadline. If the same number of taxpayers fail to complete tax returns this year, HMRC could collect millions of pounds in additional fines.

Roy Maugham, a tax partner at UHY Hacker Young, says: "A lot of taxpayers will be wrong-footed by this. Fining someone who doesn't owe tax or is due a rebate seems very heavy-handed.

"Fining taxpayers who are owed money by HMRC seems even more unjust. Ironically, these taxpayers will be doing HMRC a favour by not completing a tax return and asking for a rebate – yet they can now expect to be fined for their generosity."