As the January 31 deadline for submitting Self Assessment tax returns approaches, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is urging Britons to settle their tax obligations promptly to avoid penalties. With over 7.7 million taxpayers having already filed for the 2022-23 tax year, approximately 44,800 individuals have opted for payment plans, collectively amounting to £148 million.
HMRC is adamant in its cautionary message, emphasizing that those yet to pay their levies must do so before the looming deadline to sidestep potential penalties. Taxpayers encountering difficulties in settling their dues in a lump sum are encouraged to explore the online Time to Pay option.
To facilitate the process, individuals owing less than £30,000 can utilize the Welcome to GOV.UK affordability checker to determine a suitable payment arrangement. It is imperative for taxpayers to act promptly, as HMRC will begin applying interest to outstanding balances from February 1.
For those utilizing the Payment on Account system, the initial instalment for the 2023-24 tax year must be settled by January 31. Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, stressed the importance of immediate action in arranging appropriate payment plans, stating, “There is no time like the present.” Taxpayers can choose from various payment methods, including instalments, the HMRC app, or online banking, with detailed options available on the Welcome to GOV.UK website.
HMRC recognizes that unforeseen circumstances may prevent some taxpayers from meeting the January deadline. In such cases, the tax authority will assess individuals’ reasons for the delay. While those with valid excuses may avoid penalties, the financial consequences for missing the deadline are significant. The penalties include an initial fixed charge of £100, applicable even if there is no tax liability or if the due tax is paid on time.
After three months, daily penalties of £10 accrue, reaching a maximum of £900. Six months later, an additional penalty of five percent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater, is imposed. After a year, another five percent or £300 charge, whichever is higher, is applied.
Late payment incurs additional penalties, with five percent of the outstanding tax due at 30 days, six months, and 12 months. It is crucial for taxpayers to be aware of these penalties and take prompt action to avoid unnecessary financial burdens.
HMRC’s online resources, including the Welcome to GOV.UK website, provide a comprehensive list of payment options for Self Assessment taxpayers. The tax authority encourages individuals to explore these options and choose the one that best suits their financial circumstances.
As the deadline approaches, HMRC remains steadfast in its commitment to assisting taxpayers in meeting their obligations. The tax authority emphasizes that timely action is crucial to avoid penalties and ensure a smooth tax return process. Britons are reminded that the deadline is fast approaching, and there is no time like the present to take the necessary steps to fulfil their tax responsibilities.