By Daniel Hunter
Thousands of higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns will receive letters from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) this month, reminding them that they have only one month left to take up a special opportunity being offered by the tax authority.
The Tax Return Initiative is aimed at people liable to pay tax at rates of 40 per cent and above and who have been told to submit a Self Assessment tax return for 2009/10 or earlier, but have not done so. The campaign is also available to anyone who has tax returns to submit for these years.
People have until 2 October to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe. By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign, launched on 3 July, people will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.
After 2 October, if they have not submitted their tax returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any unpaid tax and NICs. Penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax due, or even criminal investigation, could follow.
“If HMRC has sent you a Self Assessment tax return or notice to complete a tax return for 2009/10 or earlier and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign offers you a quick and straightforward way to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out. You have until 2 October to submit your tax returns and pay the tax you owe," Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said.
“If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don’t worry. If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments.”
People can take part in the campaign by:
- Going online and registering: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/tri.htm
- Completing any outstanding tax returns and paying any tax and NICs owed by 2 October.
- Help is available from HMRC by calling the Tax Return Initiative helpline on 0845 601 8818.
By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign, customers will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.
HMRC campaigns have so far have collected nearly £510 million from people coming forward, and more than £120 million from HMRC follow-ups, including over 18,000 completed investigations. There are also 23 criminal cases under way. Two plumbers have been jailed and another received a suspended sentence.
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