January 31 is the annual deadline for 10.3 billion taxpayers in the UK to file their personal self-assessment tax return and pay any tax they owe.
You can have a reasonable excuse and get an exemption, but for the not so lucky ones, HMRC may fine for missing the deadline and failing to pay the tax you owe.
Here are 9 need-to-know facts about penalties for filing or paying late:
1. 1 day late - An instant penalty of £100 if you miss the deadline. This applies is even if you down owe any tax.
2. 3 months late - a £10 daily charge will kick in, up to a 90 day maximum of £900.
3. 6 months late - On top of the above penalties, a fine of either £300 or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher
4. 12 months late - Another £300 fine or 5% of the tax due, whichever is the higher, will be added to your bill on top of the penalties above.
5. In serious cases you may be asked to pay up to 100% of the tax due, as well as any tax you owe, doubling your payment.
6. Penalties for careless behaviour - If you have been careless with your tax return, the penalty will be between 0% and 30% of the extra tax owing.
7. And some more - If you have deliberately concealed your tax, the penalty is between 30% and 100%.
8. Failure to notify - If you have an additional source of income and you failed to notify HMRC you will be fined.
9. A did-you-know fact - If a partnership tax return is late, all partners can be charged a penalty. In the same order as listed above!
Last year HMRC pocketed a cool £87m from people who missed the deadline in 2016. You could buy 290,000 iPads, or 73.1m packets of HobNobs with that money.
Think you are going to miss the deadline? Don’t panic, you can get exemption if you have a genuine reason. But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security. The longer you delay the more likely HMRC is to suspect that your records are not up to scratch. File as soon as you can to avoid fines and scrutiny!
If in doubt, speak to an accountant. Just be prepared that missing the deadline can result in a costly penalty.