Higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit their tax returns for the 2009/10 tax year, or earlier, have only a few days left to do so – thanks to the ‘Tax Return Initiative’.
The HMRC campaign was set up to encourage individuals who pay tax at the 40% rate or above to meet their tax liabilities for past tax years. It also applies to taxpayers who pay tax at the 20% rate.
Any taxpayers who fall into to these categories have until 2nd October 2012 to inform HMRC that they wish to take part in the Initiative (and to complete their late returns, and settle any outstanding income tax and National Insurance owed for the years in question).
Although interest will be charged on any overdue taxes, and penalties applied, such taxpayers will be treated more leniently than those who fail to take part in the Initiative.
After the deadline date, the tax authorities say that they will use their significant powers to tackle taxpayers who still have not completed overdue returns. Measures include appointing debt collection agencies, and even referring some cases for criminal investigation.
In recent years, HMRC have used strong worded statements when announcing tax amnesties such as this, presumably hoping that the deterrent effect will result in more taxpayers coming forward.
Marian Wilson, from HMRC, said that help was available for those who were having financial trouble: “If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments.”
If you owe tax from the 2009/10 tax years or beforehand, you can take part in the Initiative by registering on the HMRC site here, and by settling any outstanding taxes by 2nd October.
You can also call the HMRC helpline on 0845 601 8818 (a dedicated number for the campaign).
According to the latest figures, HMRC have collected over half a billion pounds from taxpayers who have come forward voluntarily as a result of various campaigns, and £120m from further follow-up investigations