Window of Opportunity to pay backtax – HMRC offer ‘light touch’ for 2009/10 and prior

HMRC offer light touch for late payment of 'old' tax bills

Higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns are being offered the opportunity to come forward and pay up under a time-limited HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) campaign.

The Tax Return Initiative, launched on 3 July, is aimed specifically at people liable to pay tax at rates of 40% and above who have been told to submit a Self Assessment tax return for 2009/10 or earlier, but have not done so. However the campaign is also available to any individual who has tax returns to submit to HMRC for these years.

People have until 2 October 2012 to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe. By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign customers will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

After 2 October, if they have not submitted their tax returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its powers to pursue outstanding returns and any unpaid tax and NIC. Penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax due or even criminal investigation could follow.

By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign taxpayers are being offered better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower, than if HMRC comes to them first.

Campaigns launched so far have yielded nearly £510 million from voluntary disclosures and over £120 million from non-compliance follow-up from a large number of civil interventions, including over 18,000 completed investigations. There are also 23 criminal cases underway, and one man, a plumber, was recently sentenced to jail.

If you have been issued with a notice to complete a tax return for earlier years contact Burgis & Bullock immediately for assistance and to help mitigate any penalties that HMRC may be looking to assess.

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