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Tax bomb

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

File your tax return in time or face severe fines[UPDATED AUGUST 2020] 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. If you’re late, we can help to sort things out quickly and so keep any HMRC penalties to a minimum.

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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).

Email Scam Warning in run-up to HMRC Tax Credits Deadline

Phishing scamsHMRC have sent out warnings over a significant threat from new ‘phishing’ emails purporting to be from them. They are, in fact, scam emails which include links to replicas of the HMRC site and are designed to trick people into disclosing security-sensitive financial and personal information such as bank details, National Insurance numbers, credit card details, passwords, mother’s maiden names and so on. In the wrong hands these details could mean theft of your money or even your identity. Many people do not realise they have been scammed until it’s too late so taxpayers need to stay alert when checking emails and browsing online.

HMRC state that they never ask for payment and personal information by email and also warned people to be very wary of opening email attachments as many contain malicious code of one form or another. This is especially difficult because some of the fraudulent emails look very genuine, even appearing on casual inspection to come from an email address like taxreturns@hmrc.gov.uk and containing promises of tax refunds or Read more

The Shocking Truth about Tax on the Poor

How much is taken in taxHave you ever wondered how much of one’s total income is taken up in tax? And I don’t mean just Income Tax. I mean in ALL taxes paid by ordinary taxpayers throughout the course of a year. Such a figure would need to take into account National Insurance (income tax in all but name, some might say), the insidious Value Added Tax or ‘VAT’ – which on its own is a hefty 20% tax on what is often already taxed money for most ordinary taxpayers, and don’t forget to include Council Tax and finally, of course, Income Tax itself.

Well, the answer may surprise you. Before seeing the answer, though, try The Guardian’s little quiz about this and see how you get on. There are only 8 questions, and for each you simply choose from 4 possible answers – so it’s quick to complete and, once submitted, you are immediately taken to a feedback page where you will be told how your answers compared to the average respondent and, more interestingly, what the correct answers were. It’s interesting to note that, in a joint poll by The Equality Trust and Ipsos MORI, nearly 70% of people drastically underestimated how much the poorest pay in tax, as a percentage of their total income. They also over estimated how much the richest pay as a proportion of total income. This wide misconception is due to most people incorrectly focusing only on Income Tax alone which, in reality, only makes up a small proportion of total taxes paid throughout the course of a typical year.

Spoiler alert: be warned that I’m shortly going to divulge the answers Read more

(Time Sensitive): Tax Year End Changes for Pension Allowances

The start of the new Tax Year on 6 April 2014 – just 6½ weeks away at time of writing – will see two very important changes in relation to pensions allowances.

The first change will affect the ‘Annual Allowance’ (or ‘AA’) which is the annual limit on pension savings attracting tax relief. This limit will be reduced from £50k to £40k (having been as high as £255k back in 2010/11) and includes contributions made by anyone into your pension whether that’s you or your employer. Should your pension savings be greater than this amount then you will have to pay a tax charge and include such information on your Self Assessment tax return. A calculator is available to work out whether you have any unused annual allowance available, this being particularly useful because you are eligible to carry forwards any unused allowance if it exists from the 3 previous tax years. If present the unused allowance can be used to offset against any tax charge.

The second change will affect the ‘Lifetime Allowance‘ (or ‘LTA’) which is the amount payable from a private and/or work pension scheme (excludes State pension) before tax also becomes payable. Having already recently been cut from £1.8 million the LTA is currently set at £1.5 million but will be reduced to £1.25 million from 6 April 2014. The LTA is only applied to pension savings when you actually take your pension benefits, or at certain key events such as reaching the age of 75. Other examples of applicable key events are explained here. Read more

So are you one of the 6.6% who missed the tax return deadline?

Despite it being an all time record year for receipt, on-line, of ‘on time’ tax returns this year, of the 10.74 million tax returns which were due by 31 January 2013, about 708,740 were – or still are – late. That represents a shortfall of 6.6% and, at a starting penalty of £100 per late return, that’s quite a hefty total penalty. However, one could argue that an additional £71 million in the HMRC coffers in these troubled economic times is very welcome for the exchequer, even if it’s small change in the big scheme of things.

So did you miss the deadline? Here’s what you can expect in terms of additional penalties:

Late return penalties by HMRC

Remember: you still have to submit a tax return even if you do not owe any tax. Taxfile are Read more

It’s official: thousands are on the wrong tax code!

With the tax return deadline being only hours away (midnight 31 January 2014) there is still time to get professional help if you need it – particularly because HMRC  often get it wrong according to new research by UHY Hacker Young.

In just one example, HMRC sent a tax bill to a pensioner which demanded over £576k in tax! With an income of only £11k per annum this was clearly incorrect but what if it had been only hundreds of pounds wrong – would the pensioner have noticed and, if so, would he have been confident enough to question it with the might of HMRC?

According to the research, HMRC employees have been making ‘basic’ errors which have led to problems such as people being on the wrong tax code and consequently underpaying or overpaying tax. While underpaying it may sound attractive on the face of it, chances are the system will catch up and then a correction will need to be made later on, leaving the taxpayer with an unforeseen bill to pay – a real blow for cashflow.

While the UHY Hacker Young research cites an error rate in 2013 of 37% in the sample tested, HMRC are arguing that the research is wrong and that their PAYE coding notices are 99% accurate. Either way, when you consider that Read more

Tax return help 7 days a week!

By midnight on 31st January 2014, you will need to have submitted your self-assessment tax return to HMRC and have paid them any tax due for the 2012-13 financial year. It doesn’t matter if you have zero tax to pay – you still need to submit your tax return on time or you will be hit with an automatic penalty of £100 (delaying even further can, in the worst case scenario, increase this fine to as much as £1,600).

In view of this, for the month of January you can get help 7 days a week from Taxfile in Tulse Hill, South London.

Our team of tax advisers and accountants can help you with your return whatever your employment status. We can help you register with HMRC if you are not already registered, check your form and help fill it in where necessary, make sure you’ve claimed for any allowable expenses to offset tax, make sure you haven’t missed anything or claimed for something you shouldn’t have claimed, compute any tax due (or due to be refunded), and submit your tax return on-line (the only option available this late into January – paper returns are already too late!). Read more