Over one million tax returns not filed on time

Published: 6th February 2024

The 2022/23 year saw a record number of tax returns filed on time, but additionally the number that missed the deadline also increased. Initial estimates put the number of late returns at 1.1 million. Given that these will attract an automatic £100 filing penalty, regardless of whether any tax is actually due (unless the taxpayer has a reasonable excuse), that could amount to a lot of money that isn’t actually tax flowing to HMRC. We strongly advise you to check that your return has actually been accepted by HMRC particularly if you have filed via your tax account online. We are aware that some taxpayers believe their return is complete once they view the calculation, and inadvertently log out without pressing the submit button.

If you discover your return is outstanding, submit it without further delay, as daily £10 penalties will start to apply from 1 May. You should pay any outstanding tax, even if it’s just a best estimate at this point, as penalty interest is currently charged at 7.75%, and a penalty of 5% of the tax owed will apply on 1 March. It is also worth checking you still meet the criteria for completing a tax return, and request that it be withdrawn if not, whereupon any penalty will also be cancelled. You can’t do this once you’ve submitted the return.

If it is your first time making a self-assessment return, check the date the return was issued. You are permitted three months from the issue date if this would be later than the usual 31 January deadline, and this may be the case if HMRC issuing your unique taxpayer reference has been delayed.

accountant looking at paperwork