HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Self Assessment Deadline Day


Aside from today being the Lunar New year (the beginning of the year of the horse), it is also the deadline for the online submission of tax self assessments for tax year ending 2103. Failure to meet the deadline will result in an automatic fine of £100, irrespective of whether there is any tax owing or not.

Suffice to say, human nature being what it is, a number of people have yet to submit their tax returns; in fact, according to media estimates, some two million people have yet to file their returns.

This tardiness has prompted the ACCA to call for HMRC to put the deadline back to 3 February.

Aside from human nature being a primary factor in this tardiness, another contributing factor is likely to be the change in child benefit rules which has created a large number of first time self assessment taxpayers.

ACCA's head of taxation Chas Roy-Chowdhury claimed that HMRC had a "common sense" decision to make. He is quoted by AccountancyAge:
"Either it can stick to the deadline and penalise all those families and self-employed people who are struggling to get to grips with the self-assessment process.

Or it can do the right thing and give them a lifeline by extending the deadline. Self-assessment is not easy and there are fines starting at £100 for missing the deadline even if you don't owe any tax.

The circumstances around this year's deadline are different in that there will be a high number of people who will never have done self-assessment in their lives. They are going to miss the deadline not because they have been putting it off, but because they are newcomers. If reports are to be believed that two million have yet to meet the deadline just two days before it closes, then it is likely a lot of people will miss it."
As to whether HMRC will heed ACCA's call for a relaxation depends on how today turns out, and what form of media/political pressure ensues if vast swathes of middle class child benefit receivers are hit with fines for tardiness.

Quite honestly I don't see an extension to 3 February as making much of a difference; the chances are that those first timers who have not yet filed may be blissfully unaware that they have to file, and will only realise that when they are fined.

The more likely outcome will be that certain late filers will, if they have a reasonable excuse (eg first time ignorance), have their fines waived.

I should note that there is in fact a partial extension of the deadline to 15 February, but only for certain self assessment taxpayers.


As per Tolley the deadline extension applies to taxpayers who did the following between midnight on 21 January and midnight on 31 January 2014:
- enrolled for the Self Assessment online service, or
- requested a replacement user ID or password

As ever, views and comments are welcome.

Happy Lunar New Year!


Tax does have to be taxing.

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9 comments:

  1. You seem to be a bit behind the curve yourself today, Mr Frost. The Grauniad published this yesterday.

    Stew G

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder whether "midnight on the 31st January" means last night or tonight. If it's the latter, there would still seem to be a way for people to get a two-week extension...

      SG

      Delete
    2. If you read what I wrote you will see this:
      "I should note that there is in fact a partial extension of the deadline to 15 February, but only for certain self assessment taxpayers.


      As per Tolley the deadline extension applies to taxpayers who did the following between midnight on 21 January and midnight on 31 January 2014:
      - enrolled for the Self Assessment online service, or
      - requested a replacement user ID or password "

      Delete
    3. Oops! I must've thought I'd reached the start of the adverts by the time I'd read that far.

      If only anonymous commenters were able to make edits, like bloggers are - I could've gone back and spared my blushes. :)

      SG

      Delete
  2. The taxman in a civilised country shouldn't fine you for telling him a few days late that you owe no money. Why have they decided to profiteer in this way, maybe at the expense of a self-employed person whose business has just had a really bad year and is late for that reason?

    After all, from my limited knowledge, if you're self-employed you can't normally average your income between good and bad years. You need a 'privileged' occupation to do that. Most unfair.

    By 1 February, they've got millions of forms from people who do owe income tax. These will probably take months to read. Time for someone brave to challenge the legality of this?

    The apparent madness of the system certainly fits in with the timing of the Lunar New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  3. to the previous commenter - although you cant average you can carry losses backwards and forwards. See http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/hs227.pdf. Not sure if you are aware of that but it may help in both the bad and good years.

    And anyone submitting in February is not just a few days late. The tax year ended in April 2013 so they have had 9 months to get the paper work together.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Obviously my previous comment only helps if you have made loss, not if its just because profits are down.

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