Late with your tax return and tax payment?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?

Missed the tax return deadline? What now?If you missed the deadline to submit your self-assessment tax return, the first thing to know is that you are now into the penalty stage. HMRC applies an automatic £100 penalty to those who are even 1 day late (the deadline was 11.59pm on 31st January) and further penalties are added if you take even longer to comply. It’s worse, of course, if you also haven’t paid any tax owed as you’ll then owe interest too, so our advice is to pay as much as you can before 28th February, so you’ll reduce any element of interest. However, if there is a genuine reason why you were late with your return, and it fits certain criteria, you have the option to appeal …

Circumstances that are taken into account by HMRC when considering appeals include:

  • if a close relative or partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline;
  • if you had to stay in hospital unexpectedly;
  • if you had a life-threatening or serious illness;
  • if your computer or software failed at the time you were preparing your online return;
  • if HMRC’s online services were disrupted;
  • if you were prevented from filing your return or paying your tax because of a fire, flood or theft;
  • if there were unexpected postal delays;
  • and occasionally other reasons which, if genuine, HMRC may deem to be relevant.

Excuses that aren’t usually accepted by HMRC include: Read more

Email phishing scam or genuine HMRC communication?

Received an HMRC Tax Refund Email? It’s probably a Phishing Scam!

Email phishing scam or genuine HMRC communication?Several Taxfile customers have recently told us that they’ve been receiving emails, supposedly from HMRC, inviting them to click links within the emails in order to apply for tax refunds. Regrettably, some have confirmed that they did indeed click the links then log onto fake HMRC websites, which looked every bit real to them, thereby giving away such sensitive information as their bank details and things like their mother’s maiden name. Handing over such sensitive information to fraudsters would be an expensive mistake. In view of this, we thought we’d give our readers more information on what to look out for, what to expect to receive from HMRC, and what not to.

Firstly: How to Recognise a Scam Email

Here is an example of a real phishing (scam) email recently received by one of our customers. We’ve highlighted various areas of the email to indicate some of the telltale signs that the email is, indeed, a phishing attempt by fraudsters rather than a genuine communication from HMRC.

Example of a phishing email

Some of the many telltale signs that this email is fake include:

  • The sender is from a non-official domain (hmrcupdate.com is *not* a genuine HMRC website). Be careful, though, because some of the more advanced phishing emails do include genuine HMRC domains through what’s known as domain ‘spoofing’.
  • The recipient is not identified by name in either the ‘To’ field nor in the salutation (‘Dear Sir | Madam’ is a dead giveaway, as is the fact that the email was sent to ‘undisclosed recipients‘!). Genuine HMRC emails will always address you by the name you provided them.
  • Phishing emails often include silly errors that simply would not be published by the likes of HMRC. Under the logo, the date is wrong — it does not even mention a month!
  • The email states that you ‘are due some refunds‘ (plural). If HMRC did send emails announcing that a refund was available (and it doesn’t) then it would be singular, not plural! This is one of many hints that the sender has poor English (read on).
  • Press here‘ is another example of poor English. Of course, in the UK, we’d say ‘Click here’.
  • Povide us‘ is clearly spelt wrong — there should be an ‘r’ in ‘Provide’. Spelling errors are a common indication that the email is non-genuine and has instead come from overseas where English spelling and grammar are often not as accurate as they should be.
  • Further down it says ‘for refund‘ whereas it should say ‘for the refund’. Poor English/grammar again and another hint that this is a scam.
  • When you hover over the link included in the email (*without* clicking it), if your email application’s “status bar” is showing at the bottom of the screen, you can see where the link is pointing to. In this case it’s pointing to a goo.gl domain and this simply wouldn’t be the case if this was a genuine HMRC email.
  • Lastly, the email states that you have only 5 days to action the request. That is yet another telltale sign that this is a phishing scam. Fraudsters try to panic you into acting whereas HMRC would not make such a statement in a genuine email.

So you can see, when you look very carefully, that this is clearly a scam email. However, we should warn readers that other phishing emails are not so obvious. In fact, we’ve seen some real improvements in scam emails in recent months. One recent email was so genuine-looking that we’re not even 100% sure ourselves whether it’s a scam or not.

So what do you do if you are still not sure if an email is genuine?

If, after close scrutiny, you are still not sure whether the email is genuine, there are several things you can do … Read more

Tax Return 2014

Still Haven’t Filed Your Tax Return? Expect a Nasty Bill from HMRC!

Tax Return 2014If you still haven’t filed your tax return for the financial year up to 5 April 2014 you can expect the penalties from HMRC to begin racking up daily — and potentially very significantly — starting from Friday 1 May.

If you missed the 31 January Tax Return deadline …

If you missed the 31 January 2015 deadline for tax returns, you already owe HMRC £100 in fines on top of any tax you owe. If you don’t owe any tax whatsoever, HMRC still require a tax return from you, plus that £100 in penalties.

If you still haven’t filed your return by 1 May …

From 1 May 2015 you can also expect a £10 daily penalty to kick in, on top of the £100 fine above, up to a maximum addition for the period of £900 (90 days) extra. But it gets even worse…

If you STILL haven’t filed your return by 30 July …

After the 90 day period beginning on May 1st, if you STILL haven’t filed your tax return you’ll receive a further £300 penalty (or 5% of the tax due; whichever is highest) plus a possible additional fine equivalent to 100% (or more) of the tax due, depending on how serious the case is.

Each of these individual penalties is in addition to the preceding ones.

So, to conclude, if by 30 July 2015 you STILL haven’t filed your latest tax return you will be in for a minimum penalty of an incredible £1300.00 and that’s in addition to the tax you owe. Also, Read more

George Osborne

Highlights from the Chancellor’s Budget, 18 March 2015

Along with some encouraging news about the UK economy, some interesting new measures were announced in the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday and below we highlight those which we feel will directly impact the majority of UK taxpayers:

  • As widely forecast, the tax-free allowance will increase. The amount people can earn before paying tax will rise to £10,800 from 2016-17 and then to £11,000 from 2017-18. At the same points in time, higher earners will also receive a two stage increase to the threshold at which they start to pay a 40% rate of tax, with the threshold increasing to £43,300 by 2017-18.
  • The Chancellor also announced a brand new Personal Savings Allowance whereby the first £1,000 of interest (£500 for higher rate taxpayers) will be tax tree. This new allowance will kick in from April 2016 and will take 95% of taxpayers out of savings tax completely. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • Another new scheme announced was the introduction of a new ‘Help to Buy ISA’ aimed at prospective first time buyers. This fairly generous scheme means that the Government will chip in up to £50 extra per month (up to a ceiling of £3,000) when an eligible saver saves up to £200 per month towards their first home. (Fact Sheet available here).
  • In another ISA reform, savers will now be able to withdraw money from a new Flexible ISA and deposit it back later in the same financial year without losing any of their usual ISA tax benefits. £15,240 will be able to be put into this re-styled savings vehicle. Read more
Tax Deadline

You have only HOURS left to submit your Tax Return!

Tax Return DeadlineYou’re running out of time to submit your tax return and have just HOURS left! We are here to help you fill in and submit your self assessment tax returns to HMRC on Saturday 31st (by appointment only, 9-1pm) so come and see us quickly or you may miss the HMRC deadline. If you do miss it, you’ll get an automatic fine of £100 minimum – and it could get significantly worse (up to £1,600) if you continue to delay.

It doesn’t matter if you have zero tax to pay – you still need to submit your tax return on time. You also need to have paid HMRC any tax due for the 2013-14 financial year. So don’t miss your last chance to get our professional help with filing of your tax return!

ACT NOW and contact us on 020 8761 8000 or book an appointment online.

Read more

Taxfile passes HMRC inspection with flying colours!

HMRC inspect high volume tax return agentsHMRC have recently been targeting tax agents who file high volumes of tax returns and, as one of the UK’s top 100 tax return preparers by volume, Taxfile had the honour of having an inspection by HMRC inspectors during late October.

The two senior inspectors met all Taxfile staff who prepare tax returns and analysed the procedures undertaken by them to arrive at the figures entered on customer returns. They also reviewed, on a spot-check basis, a selection of files worked upon over this Summer. Analysis included checks on procedures, figure work and record keeping including the level of detail recorded in notes. The result was a resounding success – Taxfile passed with flying colours – of course!

HMRC were also satisfied with the way Taxfile had dealt with any occasional instances of missing client receipts. They reiterated that, where clients had lost receipts, some kind of proof of purchase was always needed in lieu of the official receipts. For example bank statements showing that the purchase was made via a debit card or cheque, or credit card statements showing the purchase was made originally with a Visa or MasterCard. Our own recommendation is to Read more

HMRC are clamping down on landlords

HMRC are clamping down on landlords who do not declare income from lettingsHMRC are constantly reviewing who has and has not declared income properly from letting out property, whether that’s from short-term lets, long-term lets, holiday lets, letting rooms to students or to workforces. And with new, sophisticated, data sharing systems now in full force across many agencies, authorities, online, via tip-offs and surveillance, the Government has its sights on an estimated 1.5 million landlords who they think have under-paid tax.

Taxfile are here to help landlords get their tax right and to make sure all genuine expenditure is offset against their final tax bill. They can also help out when things have become complicated by liaising with HMRC on behalf of the landlord under fire. Contact Taxfile for an informal chat, without obligation (you can even book an appointment online) or ask for a copy of our ‘Landlords Beware’ information sheet.

Online banking may save you money!

Online banking can save you money on your accounting costsDo you have online banking? Sending us downloaded statement information straight from your online banking means we can more easily import the data into our system and check for expenses and income which might otherwise have been overlooked. It can also fill in the gaps where you are missing receipts or invoices. This simple service could therefore save both time and money! Most online banking platforms allow you to export this information, for example as a CSV file, and this format is perfect for our accounting system.

Don’t have online banking? No problem! We also have a new system where we can scan in your paper statements straight into our ‘Bankstream’ accounting platform, making analysis faster and easier.

Either way, ask us for further information or, better still, send us a sample download of a typical month’s bank data (or Read more

Tax bomb

Avoid Significant HMRC Penalties – file your tax return on time!

File your tax return in time or face severe fines[UPDATED] Did you know that you get an automatic £100 minimum penalty if you file your Self Assessment tax return (or pay any tax owed) even one day late? After 3 months you can add £10 per day extra to that fine (up to 90 days/£900 max) and after 6 months it gets significantly worse. And remember that you need to file your return on time even if you don’t owe any tax, or if you have already paid it! Latest indications are that there are also no warnings given by HMRC. See the table below for the detail.

Late return penalties by HMRC

So our message is simple: don’t file late, and don’t pay late! Taxfile are here to help you, of course. We know Self Assessment Tax Returns back to front and we can help you file accurately, and on time.

Key Dates for the tax year to 5 April 2015:

Read more

Taxfile Autumn Newsletter Now Available

Taxfile Newsletter Autumn 2014Download our jam-packed Autumn Newsletter right here for up-to-the-minute news, ways to save money, tips, new developments and tax information from Taxfile. Includes important news regarding tax return deadlines, refunds for C.I.S. sub-contractors working in the construction industry, key dates, ways to save money, HMRC tax news for landlords, imminent price changes plus an interesting mind map showing information about our lovely multi-lingual staff! Download the newsletter here (Acrobat PDF format – right-click to save the PDF to your hard drive then open it in Acrobat Reader or alternatively left-click the link to view the newsletter directly in most browsers).