Tax-return deadline extended due to HMRC strike

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The Independent Online

Not filed your self-assessment tax return yet?

Normally you'd be looking at an automatic £100 late-filing fine from Tuesday, but, because of union strike action at HM Revenue & Customs, penalties are to be held over until Thursday.

The action by the Public and Commercial Services Union will see up to 7,000 HMRC call-centre staff walking out on Tuesday, tax deadline day. With up to 600,000 people expected to file their returns, HMRC, fearing chaos, has decided to extend the deadline by 48 hours.

"The Government does not want anyone trying to file their tax return on time to be unfairly penalised because they were unable to get through for help and advice on the 31st [January]," said David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury.

Derek Allen, a tax director at Icas, the professional body of Chartered Accountants, said: "The strike could cause thousands of people to miss the deadline and incur fines. The extension will prevent individuals being unfairly penalised. But this situation reinforces the need to file self-assessments as early as possible."

This year, for the first time, a £100 penalty is payable for late filing, whether or not tax is due.

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