Home News Personal Tax Countdown for 5.5m outstanding tax returns


Countdown for 5.5m outstanding tax returns

Around 5,542,000 taxpayers have less than a month to complete their self assessment tax returns before the 31 January deadline

In total, more than 11.5 million 2017/18 tax returns are due, with approximately 52% of taxpayers having already filed their returns, as of 31 December 2018, and more than five million having completed their returns online (88% of the total returns filed).

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said: ‘It is encouraging that around 52% of taxpayers have already completed their self assessment tax returns. With less than one month to go before the deadline, there are still many people that need to act now.

‘HMRC is encouraging all self assessment filers to complete their returns by 31 January and is offering support every step of the way.’

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: ‘If you are completing self assessment for the first time or are yet to start your 2017/18 tax return, there is a wide range of support and guidance available on GOV.UK to help at every stage of the tax return process.’

People need to complete a tax return if they:

  • earned more than £2,500 from renting out property;
  • or their partner received Child Benefit and either of them had an annual income of more than £50,000;
  • received more than £2,500 in other untaxed income, for example from tips or commission;
  • are self-employed sole traders;
  • are limited company directors;
  • are shareholders;
  • are employees claiming expenses in excess of £2,500;
  • have an annual income over £100,000; or
  • earned income from abroad that they need to pay tax on.

If customers completed a self assessment tax return last year but did not have any tax to pay, they still need to complete a 2017/18 tax return unless HMRC has written to them to say it is not required.

The penalties for late tax returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
  • after three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
  • after six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.

There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months.

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