Are your self-assessment tax affairs up to date?
These letters are being sent out to people who were asked to fill in a self-assessment tax return for 2010/11. The form or a notice to complete it would have been sent in April 2011. The form should have been submitted on paper by 31 October 2011 or electronically by 2 February this year.
If you missed the deadline you would have been sent an automatic £100 penalty. If the form was not submitted by the end of April a daily £10 penalty began on 1 May. That was charged for up to 90 days – a total of £900. And if the form was still not sent by 31 July a final penalty of at least £300 is levied – more if your outstanding tax is over £10,000.
If you have ignored those notices then a total of £1300 is due and the final warnings are arriving on doormats as you read this. The money is due even if you owe not tax at all.
You may be able to avoid all these penalties if you act swiftly. It is quite possible that you no longer have to be in self-assessment at all. And if so then you can ask HM Revenue & Customs to take you out of it and quash all penalties. But you must ask – it won’t happen otherwise.
If you can answer ‘no’ to ALL these points then you can probably come out of self-assessment
• a company director
• a church minister
• earn more than £100,000 as an employee
• claim more than £2500 a year in professional expenses
• have foreign income
• over 65 with an income over £24,000
• more than £10,000 a year taxable income from savings or property
• more than £2500 a year untaxed from savings or property
One very common reason for being in self-assessment when you shouldn’t be is if you were self-employed but now have a job with an employer. But if HMRC sends you a form you must either fill it in or register to be taken out of self-assessment. More than 250,000 have already come out of self-assessment.
Call the self-assessment helpline 0845 900 044 or try the landline 0161 931 9070. Alternatively look up your nearest HMRC Enquiry Centre at www.hmrc.gov.uk/enq where you can call the helpline free and without a long wait. No appointment is needed just to use the phone.
If you get the letter DO NOT IGNORE IT. If the fine is not paid for 30 days then it is passed to the Revenue’s collections department. And they can be very nasty indeed – using the court or bailiffs to recover the money.
* Read Paul Lewis's money articles every month in Saga Magazine.