Self assessment deadline looms

Around five million taxpayers are yet to file their tax returns before the 31 January deadline

Last year 477,000 returns were filed late, which resulted in at least £47.7m in penalties collected by HMRC. The latest figures of how many people still need to submit their tax returns will be updated by HMRC on 24 January.  

Taxpayers who submit their tax return late will receive an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is not paid on time – this penalty increases over time.

in London alone it is estimated that over £10m in late payment fees were collected as 106,000 Londoners filed late.

The region with the second highest rate of late tax returns was Merseyside with 8,000, closely followed by the east Midlands with 5,000, according to a Freedom of Information request by digital tax return company, TaxScouts.

Mart Abramov, co-founder and CEO of TaxScouts, said: ‘Many people dread doing their taxes so much that they will leave everything to the last minute. When they do, often they get confused and struggle to understand exactly what HMRC is asking of them, a source of stress and worry for thousands of people every year.’

‘It is important to keep in mind that missing deadlines can result in hefty, increasing fines, so if you are late, make sure you catch up as soon as possible to reduce the amount you might owe.’

The major reason for taxpayers not submitting on time is stress, with 38% of taxpayers who said that the biggest cause of stress when filing a self assessment return is being worried they would make a mistake and the consequences from it.

Another 19% said they were stressed because it was not clear if they were doing the right thing, and 9% could not understand the jargon or language being used. 

Abramov added: ‘The 31 January 2020 could cause additional stress for many people having to file a return on the date the UK will be leaving the European Union. Brexit could cause an HMRC backlog and we do not want people to be caught up in the potential chaos and bureaucratic delays when filing their return.’

5.4m yet to submit tax returns

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