HMRC just want the tax return and the tax in on time

05 June 2015

With the recent media coverage on HMRC’s approach to £100 penalties for people sending in their tax return late, HMRC has issued a news item reiterating their resource focus on investigating major tax avoidance and evasion rather than penalising ordinary people who are trying to do the right thing.

The press release states:

“…it’s important to make clear that the deadline for appealing fines for 2013/14 tax year has now passed. Those who have already appealed will only be let off the fine if they’ve now sent in their return, paid the tax due, appealed and have a good reason for sending it in late.

This is part of our planned, proportionate approach to penalty appeals, particularly for small businesses and individuals.

The bottom line is that we don’t want to charge penalties, we just want the tax return and the tax in on time.”

HMRC also said that in addition, the more complete picture that digital technology gives them means, in the longer term, they want to move away from sending out penalty notices as a mechanical reaction to a single missed deadline.

They will be able to track patterns of behaviour so that they only focus on those who persistently fail to pay or send their tax returns on time.

This new approach was set out in the recent HMRC penalties discussion document. (See CIPP response to HMRC Discussion Document on Penalties for further details.

Next week, and for the same reasons, HMRC will be announcing changes to penalties incurred for sending real time PAYE information late.