Paper tax returns: file by Friday or be fined

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The Independent Online

Thousands more individuals are expected to end up with fines for filing their tax returns late this year, after HM Revenue & Customs moved the deadline for paper returns forward by three months.

Anyone who files paper tax returns for the 2007/08 tax year after 31 October – now only six days away – will be hit with a fine of £100. Taxpayers who file their returns online still have until 31 January. The decision to move the filing deadline for paper returns was made last year. However, HMRC only started running a campaign to alert consumers over the past few weeks.

After warnings from accountants that thousands of taxpayers were likely to miss the deadline, HMRC agreed not to fine people who hand-delivered paper returns before 4 November. However, it warned people not to rely on delivering returns to their local tax office by hand, as some offices do not have mailboxes.

Jeremy Herridge, a partner at the accountants UHY Hacker Young, said: "There's going to be plenty of people who won't have found out about this until the last minute and will now miss the deadline – or who still don't know. Quite a few of our clients have expressed concern, and although we've said we'll file their return online for them, some say they don't like the idea of filing over the internet."

If you do miss the paper deadline and receive a fine, HMRC has said that, for this year only, it will cancel the penalty if you pay all the tax you owe by 31 January.

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