According to figures released today by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Londoners are more likely to miss the tax return deadline than taxpayers in any other part of the UK.
Close to 11% of the 560,000 people in Inner London failed to send in their tax return last year by the relevant deadline - 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.
However, one million tax payers in Outer London submitted their return on time, with only just under 9% failing to do so by the deadline. This put them in the second worst offenders list. The most sluggish taxpayers, outside of London, were located in the North West of England with 8% of their 890,000 people failing to submit on time.
In comparison, the rest of England did better. The most dependable were taxpayers in the South West, with only 6% of their one million taxpayers failing to pay late. Other English regions, including Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, registered 7% of late tax returns, which was the UK national average.
HMRC’s, Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said, “Whether you’re from London, Livingston, Lisburn or Llandudno, the consequences of missing the tax return deadline are the same – an automatic £100 late-filing penalty. The longer you delay, the more you have to pay. So if you still have to send us your tax return, take action now.”
Out of the 10.9 million expected to file a tax return online for the tax year 2012/13, over 6.7 million people have done so and HMRC is receiving about 80,000 completed returns per day. The deadline for filing is 14 days from today and yet close to 30% (3 million) have yet to fill in their tax return. Even if you don't owe any tax, and miss the deadline you will automatically face a £100 penalty. And if you keep delaying there are additional penalties which could easily add up to £1,600.
So if you have an outstanding tax return you must file it electronically and pay any tax you owe by the 31st of January, 2014. To do that, you can either visit HMRC’s website https://online.hmrc.gov.uk/login to file your online tax return for free. Obviously, it will not check if your have submitted accurate figures or if you have claimed all allowances, expenses and reliefs. Therefore, it’s advisable to use an accountant who specialises in tax for individuals and SMEs as they can easily free you from this administrative headache.
But if you still decide to file in yourself, be careful of submitting your tax returns via copycat sites designed to look just like the HMRC website. These websites have been set up to deceive taxpayers into thinking they are using an official Government site but provide no value whatsoever. Instead of using a search engine to find HMRC’s online filing service, we’d recommend you to type the HMRC website address in your internet browser’s address bar.