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New HMRC penalties will really hurt, please make sure you don’t fall foul.

From April 2011, the penalties for late filing of your Self Assessment Tax Return and for paying your tax late have changed : the more you delay the more you will pay. See also our recent blog (July 2012) on the self assessment tax return amnesty.

Personal Tax Return Late Filing Penalties:
  1. One day late: Minimum penalty of £100 even if there is no tax due; previously, the penalty was cancelled if tax was zero, but from April 2011, this is no longer the case.
  2. 3 months late: Daily penalty of £10 a day up to a maximum of £900.
  3. 6 months Late: Further penalties at either 5% of tax due or £300, whichever is greater.
  4. 12 months Late: Another penalty, a further 5% of tax due or £300, whichever is greater.
Note that in serious cases, a penalty of up to 100% of tax due can be charged.  As a result of these new penalties, a self assessment tax return filed six months late could attract a penalty of at least £1,300, even if the tax due is zero. This penalty regime does not seem fair, but all one can do is abide by the law and file and pay on time. Even a simple mistake can cost you dear, so we urge you to be ready to file your tax return on time for this and every year.

Personal Tax Return Late Payment Penalties: Late payment penalties are additional to late filing penalties: if you have filed your tax return on time but fail to pay the tax due on time, penalties from April 2011 are as follows:
  1. 30 days late: Initial penalty of 5% of tax unpaid at that date.
  2. 6 months late: A further penalty of 5% of tax that remains unpaid.
  3. 12 months late: A further penalty of 5% of tax that remains unpaid.
In addition, until the amount outstanding is paid, in full, interest will be charged on all outstanding amounts, including unpaid penalties.
Don’t be late. Make sure you file your tax return and pay any tax due on time this year and every year.

Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios, here’s Angus’s situation:

Illustration 1

Angus’s tax liability for year ended 5 April 2011 is £2,000. He filed his tax return online on 15 March 2012. He paid the tax due on 15 August 2012.
The Penalties Angus will pay are as follows:
Penalty for late filing: Angus’s return is more than a day late, but less than 3 months late, so his penalty is limited to £100. He is not obliged to pay the daily rate penalty because he filed his return within three months of the due date.
Late Payment Penalty: £100, Angus is 30 days late so he pays the initial 5% penalty on £2000 which is £100.

Six Months Late: £100, Angus paid the tax due on 15 Aug 2012 more than six months late; so he will pay a further 5% penalty which is another £100. Poor Angus, his total penalties add up to £300. But it gets even worse if you file your tax return late even if you are not late in making payments.

Now let’s take a look at Agnes’s situation under Illustration 2 where he files self assessment tax return 6 months late:

Illustration 2

Agnes’s tax liability for year ended 5 April 2011 is £2,000. She filed her tax return online on 15 August 2012. She paid the tax due on 15 March 2012.
The Penalties Agnes will pay are as follows:
Late Filing Penalty: £100, Agnes’s return is more than a day late but less than 3 months late.
Late Filing Penalty: £900, Agnes’s return is three months late, so she pays the maximum penalty of £900.
Late Filing Penalty: £300, Agnes’s return is 6 months late so she pays an additional penalty of £300.
Late Payment Penalty: £100, Agnes is 30 Days Late so she pays 5% of £2000 which is £100. Poor, poor Agnes, her total penalties add up to £1,400.
See the difference? The penalties for non-filing are HUGE. The penalties for unpaid tax are high enough, put the late filing penalties can be significant, and seriously affect your business.
Why take any chances? With DNS, your tax return will never, ever be late providing you always supply us with the information we ask for as soon as we ask for it. Your chances of late payments will be minimised too because we will have helped you to plan for that.
No one can afford to take any chances in this punitive system, remember the more you delay the more you will pay. Contact DNS and talk to an account manager about our tax return service.
PLEASE NOTE: This blog only covers self assessment tax return penalties. There are various other compliances such as payroll VAT, Corporation Tax, accounts to Company House and annual returns each of which carries separate penalties for late filing and late payments. Very soon blogs on other penalties will be uploaded so do not miss our emails.
Self Assessment Deadline - HMRC Self Assessment Deadline New Penalty Regime

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