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Will an HMRC penalty notice drop through your letterbox?

Contractor accountants who missed the deadline for filing their self-assessment tax return [1] are likely to receive a penalty notice from HMRC in the next few days.

HMRC said it would start sending out penalty notices on the 17th of February to inform late filers that they need to pay an automatic penalty of £100. The Revenue has implemented a new penalty structure this year that could lead to fines of up to £1,600 for people who persistently refuse to file.

However, the ICAEW has been informed that HMRC will cancel tax returns [2] and remove penalties from taxpayers who should not be included in the self-assessment system. Taxpayers who think they are not liable to file self-assessment should call the HMRC helpline and answer a few questions to establish their tax status.

The new penalty system has been widely publicised and there is really no excuse for missing this year’s deadline, especially as it was extended by 2 days due to industrial action at Revenue call centres. For the first time, HMRC said people would face the £100 penalty even if they had no tax to pay. It appears that the government has now had a change of heart and is prepared to remove those individuals from its penalty system.

Earlier this month the Revenue announced it was to clamp down on people who failed to file, especially those who should pay higher rate tax. It is therefore vital that anyone who believes they should not be included in self-assessment contacts HMRC [3] and gets their name removed as soon as possible.

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Image: Letterbox gone ! [4] by crabchick

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