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31st January HMRC personal tax return deadline could generate government windfall of £600 million in late fines

New research* released today from Crunch Accounting and OnePoll reveals over two thirds (68%) of the poll’s respondents admit they still don’t know the deadline for filing their self-assessment tax forms. This is despite repeated government advertising campaigns and the deadline being less than three weeks away.

The survey* of sole traders and business owners also found that 61% are unlikely to file their self-assessment tax forms by the 31 January deadline. This reflects recent news from HMRC that 6 million people are yet to complete their return. It could also lead to HMRC cashing in on a potential £600 million in late return fines (£100 fine per person).

The survey from OnePoll and commissioned by Crunch Accounting also shows that 52% admit to being fined for late self-assessment forms in the past.

Steve Crouch, Director at Crunch Accounting commented: “This research shows just how much HMRC could gain from late payments. It is also raises the issue about the impact of previous marketing campaigns for self assessment and if it’s been money well spent.

“The late fine, however, is an unnecessary personal cost, which is why we always make sure our clients at Crunch are fully aware of any HMRC deadlines. With cash flow more important than ever for businesses today, why waste money on unnecessary fines?” said Crouch.

The 31 January deadline is for online personal tax returns for the year from 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2012, the paper return date passed at the end of last October (2012).

The immediate £100 late tax return fine from HMRC will be followed by £10 a day, starting three months after the initial penalty up to 90 days. An additional fine of £300 (or 5% of the tax owed) will be incurred should a further three months pass, and £300 or up to 100% of the tax due will be incurred if it’s more than 12 months late (in addition to previous fines).

The UK’s worst regional culprit for filling late tax is likely to be the West Midlands, where 77% expect not to have their tax returns filled in on time.

* Research commissioned by Crunch accounting and run by OnePoll took place in December 2012, it was an online questionnaire of British individuals required to complete a personal tax return.

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