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HMRC targets higher rate taxpayers over late returns

September 5, 2012

In the latest of a string of initiatives, HMRC has given higher rate taxpayers one month’s warning to complete any overdue tax returns, or face penalties of up to 100% of the amount of tax due.

The ‘tax return initiative’ follows other campaigns aimed at groups as diverse as private tutors and plumbers which have raised over £500m between them in recent months.

This campaign is aimed at higher rate taxpayers (those who pay income tax at a rate of 40% or more) who have so far failed to submit their 2009/10 self assessment returns, although it is also open to standard rate taxpayers who have failed to complete their returns.

Under the terms of the HMRC offer, affected taxpayers have until 2nd October 2012 to complete their late returns, and pay any outstanding tax liabilities owed. By voluntarily coming forward, these taxpayers will be dealt with far more leniently than those who still fail to complete their returns.

After 2nd October, HMRC will use its considerable powers to pursue taxpayers for outstanding tax liabilities. Penalties of up to 100% of what is owed can be applied, with criminal investigation a possibility in some extreme cases.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said that anyone who has yet to complete their 2009/10 (or earlier) returns, but is unable to meet their tax liabilities should still contact HMRC:

“If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don’t worry. If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments.”

To take advantage of HMRC’s latest initiative, you can register online here, or call the Tax Return Initiative helpline on 0845 601 8818.