'Don't fine taxpayers caught by post strike'

Two tax bodies have called upon the government not to issue fines to people whose tax returns are delayed by the postal strikes and miss the 31 October paper return deadline. Andrew Hubbard, president of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, and David Stedman, president of the Association of Taxation Technicians, have jointly written to Dave Hartnett, HM Revenue & Customs permanent secretary for tax, regarding the effect of the industrial action on the deadline. They have asked him to urgently consider treating all paper returns received within a week of the deadline as if they were received on time and hence not levy the usual £100 late filing penalty. HMRC has allowed taxpayers to appeal to get the penalty cancelled. But, said Hubbard: 'Given the chaos likely to hit the postal service over the next few days it would be much more sensible, and less bureaucratic all round, simply to treat all returns which arrive up to a week late as having arrived on time.' Stedman said: 'I would strongly encourage anyone yet to send in their tax return to either deliver it by hand to a local tax office - and keep a note of when they delivered it - or to obtain a "proof of posting" certificate from their local post office when they post it.'
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