Britons Will Throw Away Pounds 463m in Fines for Missing the Tax Return Deadline

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Byline: By Nicky Burridge

Britons are set to waste pounds 463m this year through fines for late and inaccurate tax returns, research showed yesterday. People have until January 31 to get tax return forms and any tax they owe to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), after which they will incur an initial pounds 100 late payment charge, followed by a further pounds 60 a day for each day the money is late.

If the return is still overdue in July they will incur a further pounds 100 penalty, while they could also be charged up to pounds 3,000 for every year in which inadequate records have been kept.

Unbiased.co.uk, which promotes the work of independent financial advisers, estimates that UK taxpayers will collectively fork out pounds 89m for failing to return their tax return forms on time, while they will incur a further pounds 302m of fines for miscalculations.

At the same time it expects another pounds 72m to be paid out in surcharges on unpaid tax from previous years.

The group said in 2006 an estimated 876,000 self-assessment forms were received after the January 31 deadline, although this was 12% fewer than in 2005.

It expects the number to continue to fall, with its estimate for the penalties people will face this year pounds 26m below its prediction for 2007.

David Elms, chief executive of Unbiased.co.uk, said, "The rules on self-assessment forms remain unforgiving towards those who return their forms late or incorrectly, so now is the time to take action.

"Missing the HMRC's deadlines inevitably results in monetary penalties, so we would urge consumers to avoid these fines by ensuring that their forms arrive on time and in order."

Meanwhile tax and accounting information group CCH claimed the amount of tax HMRC is netting for every inquiry it launches into a personal self-assessment form has soared by 213% during the past year. …