Taxman hits middle-class earners with record fines

Middle-class taxpayers have been issued with a record number of fines for errors on their tax returns

A staggering 143,000 penalties were imposed last year on people who the government deemed had not taken “reasonable care” with the filing of their returns.  Accountants warned that people were being penalised for forgetting to declare interest on a long-lost savings account or omitting a health insurance policy or gym membership received through work.

If you are one of the tax payers who have yet to complete and submit their return – just remember the £100 penalty for missing submission date, and if you continue to put off filing your return,  please note from 1 May to 29 July additonal fines of £10 per day (to maximum of £900) will be addied to your HMRC bill.  So, stop what you are doing and get it in.  Remember if your return seems particularly daunting or you just plain forgot your accountant can help. 

Now as well as people being fined for non-submittal figures suggest that many more tax payers are also being penalised for deliberately underestimating their income.   Tax agents and accountants feel HMRC may be treating some genuine mistakes as tax evasion and that tax inspectors are taking a sterner approach in their attitude towards the 11 million people who are required to complete an annual UK self-assessment.

And just to keep things light – below are a few of the excuses used for filing late returns

  • “My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days”
  • “My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders”
  • “I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant”
  • “My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back”
  • "I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it”