Thousands of self-employed people facing HMRC fines for late tax returns, say accountants

 
Sam Layton
Last year 700,000 people missed the deadline (Source: Getty)

Thousands of self-employed Londoners face fines of up to £1,600 at the start of next month for failing to file their tax returns on time, according to City accountants Perrys.

Last year approximately 700,000 people in the UK missed the government’s 31 October submission deadline. This year, the fines are estimated to hit as many as 890,000 people.

And with 680,000 London workers registered as self-employed, the capital is more at risk than anywhere else in the UK - with 17.3 per cent of Londoners currently registered as self-employed.

Stewart Pope, chief executive of Perrys, said: “The rules and regulations relating to self-assessment tax returns can seem confusing. Many self-employed people are unsure about where they stand in relation to completing tax returns, how they file a return or whether they should be submitting anything at all."

John Dennison, a self-employed worker from Central London, said: “As a self-employed individual, I find tax returns over-complicated and have made mistakes in the past. It’s so easy to make a mistake and if you get one figure wrong it throws all the other calculations out.”

But if you do miss next week's submission deadline, all may not be lost. In May, it was revealed that HMRC may waive its lateness charge for anyone who offers a "reasonable" excuse for being late.

Read more: HMRC waives £100 late tax return fines to prioritise "major" investigations

Apart from the initial £100 penalty, there is an automatic fine of £10 a day if the tax return remains unfiled after three months. Even if you don't owe them anything, HMRC could fine you as much as £1,600.

HMRC’s submission deadlines are midnight on 31 October for paper returns and 31 January for online submissions.

While most businesses will also be able to file their tax returns online, pensions trustees and companies with headquarters outside the UK will have to make a paper submission by 31 October.

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