Will final day for self-assessment filing see chaos reign at HMRC?

Accountants will be well aware that today is the final day for submitting online self-assessment tax returns and paying the income tax due to HMRC for the financial year ending April 2011.

Blick Rothenberg, the accountancy firm, recently warned that those people who file their returns late could end up contributing to an increase in the Revenue’s coffers of as much as £93 million.

HMRC are now under an obligation to maximise penalties and it will not show leniency when dishing out the fines. This could net them as much as £9.3 million on a daily basis when you consider the penalty for filing 12 months late is £1,600; up from the previous fine of £200.

Stephen Hardwick, a director at the Revenue, explained that the penalty system was designed to encourage people to file before the January 31st deadline, and to be fair to the millions of taxpayers who do comply. But he did add that much heavier penalties would be levied on late filers this year.

People who have left their filing till the last minute could have problems getting through to HMRC call centres today.

The PCS has called on its members to strike for the full day over HMRC’s plans to transfer contact centre jobs to the private sector. Members of the union have already held industrial action over this in December and again earlier this month, but any action today, one of the busiest days in the HMRC calendar, could be extremely disruptive.

If you are one of those who needs advice and get caught up in the mayhem, contact a contractor accountant who will be happy to help you.

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