Britons 'risk £100 fine' as only hours left until Self Assessment tax return deadline

Britons 'risk £100 fine' as only hours left until Self Assessment tax return deadline

British public react to recent tax cuts

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 31/01/2024

- 11:01

Updated: 31/01/2024

- 13:23

The deadline to file a Self Assessment tax return falls today with many leaving it to the last minute

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers only have hours left to file their online Self Assessment returns or they’ll be at risk of a £100 fine by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The Government department is estimating more than 12.1 million returns will be filed for the 2022-23 tax year, alongside any payments that are owed.

However, those who miss the deadline at midnight tonight could be hit with an initial £100 penalty and may rake up subsequent fines. According to HMRC, more than 8.3 million online returns have been received with 3.8 million people still waiting to file as of January 23.

Some 450,000 Britons are directly at risk of missing tonight's deadline, according to research carried out by Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management.

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Anyone who is unable to pay by tonight’s deadline could be able to arrange a “Time to Pay” arrangement with HMRC. This could result in an alternative pay arrangement being set up which helps taxpayers avoid penalties.

HMCR has previously stated it will consider a taxpayer’s reasons and situation if they are unable to meet the deadline. If someone has a reasonable excuse for doing so, they may avoid losing money in penalty payments.

According to Pie Tax, 49 per cent of Britons have no idea what their tax liability is while 17 per cent leave managing their taxes until the day before their payment is due.

The tax management app found that 73 per cent of self-employed workers cite HMRC payment as their biggest mental health drain.

Some 11 per cent of self-employed people polled by Pie Tax said they have taken out a credit card or personal loan to pay off their bill.

Mark Collins, the head of tax at Handelsbanken Wealth & Asset Management, warned of the risks of missing the January 31 deadline.

He explained: “HMRC says that those with a reasonable excuse for missing the deadline may avoid penalties.

“But there is the risk of a £100 fine even if there is no tax to pay, and penalties can mount up if returns are more than three months late, with additional penalties for paying outstanding tax late.”

HMRC tax formSelf-employed taxpayers need to file on time or face a £100 fine GETTY

After the initial £100, the penalties for later returns include additional daily penalties of £10 per day after three months, up to a maximum amount of £900. At the six month mark, there could be a further penalty of five per cent due to £300, whichever is higher.

Once 12 months have passed, taxpayers could be hit with another five per cent levy or £300 or more, depending on what is the highest amount.

Those filing at the last minute are being urged to be on the lookout for scammers who use tax deadlines to trick people. Scams include threats for payment for a fake tax bill or fraudulent offers of a tax rebate from HMRC.

Previously, HMRC said it received more than 130,000 reports about tax scams in the 12 months to September 2023, of which 58,000 were offering fake tax rebates.

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