By Kate Brown
Of the 11.4 million people due to file their tax return, many rushed to meet the deadline. Figures showed that 758,000 people submitted their tax returns online on the final day, and 30,000 of those submitted it within the final hour. Now, 745,000 people are at risk of receiving a fine from missing the 31st January deadline.
Many raised their concerns over fewer ways to pay tax after HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) imposed a ban on paying via credit card or through the post office. However, figures have improved from last year which saw 840,000 people miss the deadline.
The penalty for filing late tax returns is £100, regardless of whether there is tax to pay or if the tax is paid on time. Failure to submit tax returns three months after the deadline results in additional daily penalties of £10, with a maximum of a £900 payment. This penalty applies on top of the £100 fixed penalty, which would account to an overall fine of £1000 if tax returns are not filed after 90 days. Failure to submit tax returns after six months after the deadline will result in further penalties of either £300 or 5% of the tax due (depending on which figure is higher), and will be applied on top of the £1000 penalty. If tax returns are not received 12 months after the deadline, further penalties of either £300 or 5% of the tax due (depending on which figure is higher) will be applied in addition to previous fines.
In November 2017, plans to introduce a point-based system as opposed to a fine for those who fail to meet the tax return deadlines were outlined. HMRC stated that points would be accumulative and eventually result in a fine once a certain threshold was reached. However, points can also be wiped off record after a period of time.
An increasing leniency towards waiving fines for late tax returns has emerged for individuals suffering from mental health disorders. This comes about after a growing awareness of mental health conditions in today’s society. A spokesman from HMRC said that people suffering from disorders such as depression who were unable to file their tax return would not be required to pay the penalty.