HMRC penalties and surcharges - check before you pay up
The deadline for submitting tax returns for 2006-07, and for paying the remainder of any tax due for that year, was 31 January 2008. Since then, HMRC’s systems have been generating £100 fixed penalty notices for tax returns filed late. For 2006/07 tax which was still unpaid at 28 February, 5% surcharge notices will also be issued. These notices are produced automatically and sometimes incorrectly. So if you have had a penalty notice even though you did send in your return on time, or did pa
HMRC’s systems struggled to cope on 31 January this year and some people attempting to file their self assessment tax returns electronically were unable to do so as the system crashed. HMRC announced that anyone who could not file by midnight on 1 February because of the systems failure should file as soon as they possibly could thereafter. The system would continue to issue automatic penalty notices, but HMRC would accept claims to cancel the penalty and treat the return as having been filed on time where the problems with the HMRC service were the cause of the delay.
Also, HMRC tend to receive a large number of paper returns in the run-up to the deadline which leads to processing delays. That may also cause incorrect penalty notices to be issued.
If you think you should not be charged a penalty, make sure you contact your HMRC office (details of how to do so should be given on the penalty notice). Even if you were late in sending in your tax return, you can ask HMRC to cancel the penalty if:
- you owed no tax on 31 January 2008; or
- you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for sending in your tax return late.
If HMRC do not agree that the penalty notice should be cancelled, you can appeal to the General Commissioners. For more information have a look at our website commentary on appeals.
Contact: Robin Williamson (Tel: 0844 579 6700 Fax 0844 579 6701)