HMRC warns late tax return filers will face 'debt-recovery actions'

Some 300,000 Britons who haven't filed tax returns for 2011 could face "debt-recovery actions" including court proceedings and seized assets if they continue to ignore the Revenue's approaches next year.

HMRC yesterday warned that it is sending letters to self-assessment workers whose tax returns are so late that their penalties have now hit £1,300.

"Our letters will let them know that we will either work out their penalty liability via their tax code during the 2013/14 tax year, or, if they are not in PAYE they will face debt-collection action," a Revenue spokesman said. "Debt-collection action covers a broad range of different possible actions, including county court proceedings, and restraint action."

However, the spokesman added HMRC would not be starting action before Christmas.

"We have no interest in seizing anyone's goods," he said. "The remedy to avoid all this is in the late-filer's hands: pay the penalty and file their late return, and if they think they should not have to complete a return, talk to us as soon as possible."

These non-filers have ignored numerous communications from HMRC, dating back to April 2011, including flyers, reminder letters, penalty notices and warning letters.

"A customer can still phone us if they think they should not be in self-assessment, and if they shouldn't be, penalties will then be waived," the spokesman said.

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