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Tardy contractors targeted by taxman’s new campaign

Foot-dragging contractors beware: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has you in its sights if you’ve yet to submit your Self Assessment return.

The new programme, dubbed the My Tax Return Catch Up by HMRC, is designed to make it ‘quick and easy’ to update the taxman with any information you might have conveniently forgotten to send in over the years. It’s actually a bit of an amnesty scheme, as you can avoid falling victim to mounting penalties and you run a good chance of settling your tax bill on better terms than someone who doesn’t avail themselves of the new Catch Up initiative.

However, don’t think that you can just send in a cheque to the taxman and you can wash your hands of the whole thing – you’re going to have to contact HMRC either online, by the post, or by ringing them up. This is a limited time offer, as well – you’ve got until 15 October of this year before the window on this amnesty programme closes.

If you ask me, it’s a nice olive branch that HMRC is offering to contractors by providing a scheme to manage any unpaid tax over the past few years. Keeping your tax affairs as up to date as possible is incredibly important, especially since the alternative could be incredibly punitive penalties; if it goes on too long and if the figures are high enough, there’s a good chance you could even see yourself dragged into court to answer for your recalcitrance, so I really don’t see how you can argue that taking advantage of this new initiative isn’t in your best interest as a taxpayer.

And let’s be honest – we all know how bad the penalties can be. Just one day late and you owe the taxman an additional £100, and after three months go by you’re liable for £10 for every day up to a punishing sum of £900, and the six month mark is commemorated by either 5 per cent of your tax due or another £300 depending on which is higher!

Do you really want to spend all that money? It keeps adding up, year after year, and suddenly it seems like things have gotten out of control; if you don’t want to end up owing the taxman thousands and thousands more than you originally did, this new campaign might be just the thing you need to free yourself of that crushing burden.

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