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Paul Gosling of Banks BHG

Remember to submit your tax returns, urge accountants

Tax-payers in the self-assessment system are being urged to get their returns in soon, to avoid penalties imposed by failing to meet the looming deadline.

Swindon accountants Banks BHG are warning that failure to get a return in before the deadline on January 31 will result in an automatic fine, even if there is no tax owing.

Paul Gosling, head of tax at Banks BHG, said: “Unless you have specific permission from HM Revenue and Customs, all outstanding 2013/14 tax returns must now be submitted online, as the October 31 paper-filing deadline has passed.

“Not meeting the deadline results in a fixed penalty of £100, even if there is no tax owing or if any tax due is paid on time.

“Our advice is to get the return in as soon as possible. If you use an accountant you should let them have the information as soon as possible as leaving it until the very last minute is risky, as the online system has crashed in the past due to the sheer volume of people using it. So you could find yourself on January 31 – and remember this is a Saturday – trying to submit your tax return but unable to do so.”

As well as the fixed fine, non-compliance after three months results in penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900; after six months, there is a further penalty of five per cent of the tax due or £300; and after 12 months, another five percent or £300 charge, whichever is greater, is imposed. There are additional penalties for paying late of 5 per cent of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months.

Paul added: “If you are not using an accountant, to be able to send an online tax return, people must be registered for HMRC online services. This involves HMRC sending out an activation code in the post, so people should allow enough time for this to arrive.”

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