Posts tagged ‘Tax Matters’

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has always taken a dim view of the late filing of self-assessment tax returns, but it has now introduced significant new penalties for those who fail to meet the deadlines.

The deadline

If you are registered for self-assessment and have not already filed your paper return then you will need to do so online by 31 January 2012. This may still seem a long way off, but it makes sense to start preparing now rather than leaving your return until the last minute, when it will be more difficult to deal with any issues which may arise.

The penalty

Back of the net!Under HMRC’s new regime, late returns will incur an initial fixed penalty of £100.

This will apply even if there is no tax to pay or any tax due for the year has already been paid on time.

If your tax return has still not been filed after three months, then HMRC will impose additional daily penalties of £10, up to a maximum of £900.

After six months, the penalty increases to either £300 or five per cent of the tax, depending on which is greater.  The penalty could increase to 100 per cent of the tax due if returns have still not been filed after 12 months.

Late tax

Any overdue tax must also be paid by 31 January.  If this deadline is missed then HMRC will impose a penalty of five per cent of the amount due after 30 days, six months and 12 months respectively. It is also worth noting that HMRC will charge interest on top of these penalties.

The Art of ProcrastinatingStop procrastinating

As with any tax matter, it is always better to act sooner rather than later.

The longer you leave it, the bigger the penalty will be.

 

 

At George Hay, we can assist with a wide range of tax matters, including ensuring your self-assessment tax return is filed on time.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only. All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice. George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

If you were among those hit by the new 50p top tax rate back in April, then you could now be more likely to receive a rather unwelcome knock on the door from the taxman.

Proposal

Under plans unveiled by the Liberal Democrats at their recent conference in Liverpool, half of the UK’s 300,000 higher earners affected by the top tax rate face having their tax affairs checked over by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This means that the number of tax investigations will rise from the current figure of 5,000 to 150,000 a year – an increase of 3,000%.

Why?

The £900 million drive is designed to crack down on tax avoidance, the legal practice of using existing provisions within the current tax regime to minimise your tax liabilities. This should not be confused with tax evasion, where tax liabilities are avoided by illegal means, amounting to tax fraud.

Those who ‘hide’ money in offshore accounts will also come under scrutiny as part of the increased investigations.

As a result of the scheme, the number of criminal prosecutions relating to tax matters is expected to increase five-fold, while the Treasury has announced that it expects the initiative to bring in £7 billion a year by 2015.

While tax avoidance is certainly not illegal, the announcement highlights the importance of seeking professional advice on all tax matters to ensure you do not fall foul of any investigation.

Impact on small business

Even if you have nothing to hide, tax investigations can be both costly and time-consuming, particularly for smaller businesses which have neither the time nor the money to spare.

Need support?

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At George Hay, we can advise clients on all aspects of taxation and can help you ensure that all your tax affairs are in order. We can help you ensure you do not pay too much or too little tax and, should you find yourself the subject of an investigation, can offer as much assistance as you need.

We are also able to offer tax investigation protection. As with any insurance, everyone hopes they will never need to use it, but taking out cover now could save you thousands of pounds in investigation fees should the taxman come calling – money that could be put to better use in your business.

For more information on any area of taxation, including tax investigations, or to find out more about tax investigation protection, please contact us.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.