Don’t be scared of Halloween tax fright

The deadline for self-assessment paper tax returns is looming with an automatic £100 fine dubbed ‘Halloween Horror’ issued to anybody who submits a paper return later than 31 October 2012.  HMRC is taking a heavy-handed approach with no exceptions made for late submissions.

The advice given is to obtain proof of posting to provide evidence to appeal against a late penalty if required.  The £100 fine is just the tip of the iceberg as there can be additional penalties of up to £10 per day to a maximum of £900 for up to three months, which can escalate even further after six months.

However, HMRC only apply the Halloween deadline to those who don’t feel comfortable completing an online tax return with an additional three months leeway given to those that have the ability to access a computer and confidence to submit a return online.  It is also possible for an accountant to do this on behalf of a taxpayer. 

“Submitting a tax return online is beneficial to all, with HMRC promising a faster process time enabling those who have overpaid their tax to receive a quicker rebate” comments Owen Kyffin, Tax Partner at accountancy firm Whitley Stimpson. “There is also an extended deadline of 31 January to provide people with more time to get their finances in order.  Please be warned that HMRC is committed to issuing fines for late arrivals so our advice is to seek help to submit a tax return online.”

The number of people in the UK required to complete a self-assessment tax return is around 10.6 million including self-employed, those who have a second income or buy-to-let property in addition to freelancers and higher-rate taxpayers.

Whitley Stimpson has provided sound tax advice to individuals and businesses for more than 80 years.  For further information or to book an appointment with one of

Whitley Stimpson’s tax specialists in Banbury or High Wycombe, please visit www.whitleystimpson.co.uk or call 01295 270200.