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As thousands of tax office members take part in a one day strike on 31st January 2012, self-assessment taxpayers are given a reprieve, with an extension to the online filing deadline. Taxpayers, including small businesses, will be given until midnight on 2nd February to submit their tax return without being charged an instant £100 penalty.

This year, HM Revenue & Customs introduced a new penalty system which would result in a £100 penalty being issued for anyone who filed their tax return after the relevant deadline, whether tax was owed or not. As a number of taxpayers may experience difficulty getting through to contact centres as a result of the strike, HMRC has agreed to an extension of the online filing deadline.
According to recent data, more than two million taxpayers have yet to file their tax return. Stephen Banyard, acting director general for personal tax said:

“We’ve always been very clear that we want the returns- not the penalties. For that reason, we don’t want anyone who can’t get through for help and advice on 31st January to be disadvantaged in any way.”

However, despite the assurance that no explanation will be necessary if tax returns are filed on the 1st or 2nd of February, a number of tax experts believe that anyone filing their tax return on these days may be asked to provide evidence of difficulties leading to the delay. HMRC has issued a statement clarifying that penalties won’t be issued for any taxpayer filing on those days.

About The Author

Kara Copple

An experienced business and finance writer, sometimes moonlighting as a fiction writer and blogger.

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