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Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 11:51 GMT
Tardy taxpayers face 92m fines
Tax return form
About 90% of tax forms arrived on time
The Inland Revenue says that one in ten tax payers failed to meet the deadline to submit their self assessment forms.

About 8.1m tax forms - out of a total 9.2m forms dispatched - arrived at the Inland Revenue to meet its deadline of 31 January.

The Inland Revenue says 920,000 forms remain outstanding and liable for a fine of 100 each. This could potentially net the Inland Revenue a total of 92m.

Such tardiness on the part of British taxpayers could provide Chancellor Gordon Brown with a fresh windfall for his bulging coffers.

A spokesman at the Inland Revenue said that the 90% figure was in line with receipt rates during the last three years.

Online taxpayers

The Inland Revenue also received about 39,000 forms from taxpayers who filed online.

The figure is disappointing compared to the 127,000 taxpayers who originally registered on the Inland Revenue's website with the intention of filing online.

Registration also requires ordering self-assessment software on CD-Rom.

This is the first year that that Inland Revenue introduced the option to file self-assessment forms via the internet.

"We plan to look at why only 39,000 people filed online out of 127,000 that registered their interest," said a spokeswoman.

Some taxpayers may have been put off by initial teething problems with the software. These problems were eventually ironed out.

The spokeswoman added that others may have fallen out after they discovered that only "self-employed" or "employed" taxpayers could use the online option.

The Inland Revenue plans to expand its online service next year and aims to offer a fully operational service by 2005.

Complicated tax affairs

Self-assessment affects taxpayers with more complicated tax affairs. The main groups of people it applies to are:

  • self-employed people
  • company directors, employees or pensioners with complex tax affairs
  • business partners
  • trustees or personal representatives.

Anyone who breached the deadline will pay a fine of 100. Similarly, late payment of tax owed incurs an 8.5% interest charge.

Any tax not paid by 28 February, will incur a further 5% in interest.

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See also:

31 Jan 01 | Business
Deadline looms for tax returns
09 Jan 01 | Business
Time to pay your tax
21 Aug 00 | Business
Taxing internet returns
18 Aug 00 | Business
Inland Revenue web fiasco
01 Feb 00 | Business
Taxman extends deadline
30 Oct 99 | Business Basics
Tax self-assessment
29 Jan 99 | Your Money
Catching up with the taxman
22 Jan 99 | Your Money
Q&A: Tax and self-assessment
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