HMRC’s New Tax Campaign Comes With A Bite

Stephen Little Reporter London 21 August 2013

HMRC’s New Tax Campaign Comes With A Bite

A new HM Revenue and Customs campaign that gives UK taxpayers the chance to avoid late tax return penalties called My Tax Return Catch-Up, comes with real "teeth", despite its disarming-sounding name, warns Mark Herson, a director in the private client tax team at accountant and business advisory firm James Cowper.

“This campaign, with its deliberately friendly sounding name, echoes previous HMRC campaigns targeting those that persistently avoid or evade paying income tax. It provides a window of opportunity in which to sort out your tax affairs on the best possible terms available from HMRC," Herson said. 

HMRC launched the campaign to give self-assessment taxpayers a chance to settle outstanding tax bills if they failed to complete tax returns under requirements for the 2011/12 tax year on 9 July.

Taxpayers who failed to file a self-assessment tax return now have the opportunity to settle their tax affairs up until 15 October 2013.

“For those individuals who do not come forward, HMRC has real teeth to impose substantial fines and criminal prosecutions. On top of charging penalties of £300 ($470) or 5 per cent of the total tax bill, HMRC can impose a daily penalty of £10. In the continued absence of a filed tax return, HMRC can raise an assessment of tax due. If the tax and penalties remain unpaid, the debt can be referred to a debt collection agency,” Herson added.

“It is entirely likely that those individuals that have not completed tax returns for whatever reason will have complicated or messy tax records and as a result have simply ignored the problem. Our advice is to take this opportunity and update your tax affairs before HMRC takes a much tougher stance. If you need help, approach a tax advisor or a reputable accountant. HMRC knows who is not completing tax returns and is determined to stamp out tax evasion,” he continued.

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