New penalties loom for self-assessors

HM Revenue & Customs is reminding businesses and individuals about tougher new self-assessment penalties for late returns and late payments, which come into force this autumn.

Announced in HMRC update, the changes will affect SA returns for 2010/11 – equating to more than 10million documents and notices, and apply to all future financial years.

The new penalties for late Self Assessment returns include a an initial £100 fixed penalty, which will now apply even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;

After three months, taxpayers face additional daily penalties of £10 a day (up to a maximum of £900), and after six months, an extra penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, “whichever is greater”.

Failure to file or pay after 12 months will incur another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater, while in serious cases, the penalty after 12 months can be up to 100% of the tax due.

New penalties for paying late are 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days; six months and at 12 months, with interest also chargeable on top of these penalties.

The tax return deadlines remain unchanged – October 31st for paper and January 31st for online returns. The deadline for paying any tax due also remains the same at January 31st .

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