Consumers urged to file their self assessed tax forms in plenty of time

Anyone who is required under the current laws and regulations to file a self assessment tax return must do so by 31 January of the following tax year. If you’re in that category and haven’t filed for 2011, you will probably be getting some bad news in the mail from HMRC. The letter will tell you that you now owe at least £1,200 in penalties, in addition to any tax you may owe.

Stephen Banyard, HMRC’s general director for personal tax, said that the tax department would rather be getting the returns in good time than raking in penalties for non-filing, and this is another good incentive for tax payers to attend to their returns in a timely manner.

In April of 2011 the HMRC introduced some new penalties for late and/or non-filing, which were apparently enough incentive to reduce the number of late or non-filers by almost half. The percentage dropped from 10.7% in 2011 to 5.9% in 2012, but that’s still too many as far as HRMC is concerned, and the stiffer penalties are meant to reduce it to zero or thereabouts.

According to Mr. Banyard, if you have a legitimate excuse for your dereliction, such as illness or bereavement, or if your inclusion in the self assessment category is erroneous, you can appeal the penalty and have it waived.