HMRC Will Waive £100 Fine for Late Tax Returns
The HM Revenue and Customs confirmed. Those who are filing late tax returns have now been let off the £100 fine.
The Daily Telegraph received news of the development from a leaked memo. It may affect almost 900,000 people. Despite applause from taxpayers, the effectiveness and legality of the fine waiver is currently being queried.
How It Works;
Those who hope to avoid the £100 fee need to be able to provide a “reasonable” excuse for why they were delayed when they submit their return. The leaked memo says that HMRC will now be writing off the”vast majority” of fines provided those submitting them have already paid their tax bills.
The HMRC is currently dealing with a backlog of a million letters, and a spokesperson said the move will allow the HMRC to focus their resources on investigating tax evasion and avoidance, instead of penalising everyday people who are just trying to do the right thing.
There are many critics of the move, and independent tax researcher Richard Murphy called the move “ethically wrong” and “absurd”, and said that there is an overwhelming need for the HMRC to reviewed.
Murphy said that HMRC is failing to impose the law, and undermining the will of parliament. Labour MP Margaret Hodge also said that the tax rules have now been brought into “disrepute”. She said that while the majority of people get their tax returns filed in time, it undermines the system and isn’t fair.
A reasonable excuse for missing the tax deadline includes something which is outside your control or unexpected which stopped you meeting the obligation.
Excuses include the death of a partner, a hospital stay, a fire, and computer failures, although it’s important to note that the excuse will only count if the tax bill has actually been paid.