Penalty warning for paper tax returns

If you submit a paper return after the deadline of 31 October 2011, you will automatically incur a £100 fine

With the deadline for paper tax returns just weeks away, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is urging businesses to get their paper tax returns in on time – before midnight of 31 October – in order to avoid penalties.

Late returns, ie those paper tax returns received by HMRC on or after 1 November, will incur a £100 penalty – even if there is no tax to pay or the tax due is paid on time.

Following the introduction of a new penalty regime this year, the longer you delay, the more you’ll have to pay. There are further late-filing penalties after three, six and twelve months.

If you can’t send your paper return by 31 October, you can still avoid a penalty by sending your tax return online instead. However, if you do send a paper return after the 31 October deadline, you cannot avoid the initial £100 penalty by subsequently filing online.

If you send your tax return online, you get an extra three months to send it, as the deadline for filing online is 31 January 2012. There are lots of other advantages to filing online, such as:

  • your tax is calculated automatically 
  • you get an immediate online acknowledgement 
  • your tax return is processed faster, so any money that you are owed is repaid more quickly

You can find help and advice on completing a return on the HMRC website, or call the HMRC Self Assessment helpline on Tel 0845 9000 444 for further advice on tax returns.