Fines warning on late tax assessments

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Taxpayers who are filing their self-assessment forms on paper face a £100 penalty if they fail to do so before the end of the month, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) warned yesterday.

Changes were introduced this year to encourage more people to file their returns online and tackle a hard core of taxpayers who send in their paperwork late. Those who hand in paper returns after the October 31 deadline will be hit with the new penalty regime, even if there is no tax to pay or the tax due is paid on time.

Further late-filing penalties also apply after three, six and 12 months, HMRC said.

But those who send in their tax returns online have an extra three months’ grace, as the deadline is January 31 next year. Those who process returns online can also enjoy a quicker service and have their tax calculated automatically.

Most taxpayers using the self-assessment system, which covers the self-employed and those with multiple incomes, have switched to filing online. Out of around nine million people in self-assessment, some 6.9 million filed their returns online last year.