Late filing penalties for inadvertently missing self-assessment tax return deadlines could soon be a thing of the past.
The Treasury is preparing to unveil plans which would scrap immediate £100 fines for taxpayers who unintentionally miss deadlines and replace them with a new “holistic” points-based system.
Sources from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) claim the changes from the tax authority are designed to focus on “people who really don’t care about playing by the rules” and give those taxpayers who make genuine errors of judgement a chance to redeem themselves.
At present, all taxpayers within the self-assessment tax return system that fail to submit their returns by 31st January each year are liable for instant £100 fines, which rises periodically the longer the return remains outstanding. In 2017, some 840,000 taxpayers reportedly missed the deadline.
Fines scrapped until four penalty points are accrued
The new points-based system will adopt a similar approach to the UK’s driving licence points system, with taxpayers only required to pay a fine when they miss deadlines and in a response to a Consultation published earlier this year, a limit of four points was discussed.
It is anticipated that one missed deadline will equate to one penalty point.
As with the driving licence system, the points would be reset to zero provided the taxpayer was fully compliant for a set period. Both 12 and 24 months were discussed in the Consultation.
The plans, disclosed by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, in last week’s Autumn Budget 2017, state: “The Government will reform the penalty system for late or missing tax returns, adopting a new points-based approach.
“It will also consult on whether to simplify and harmonise penalties and interest due on late payments and repayments. This will ensure that the system is fair, simple and effective across different taxes.
“Final decisions on both measures will be taken following this latter consultation.”
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