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Missed your Self Assessment deadline?

Penalty notices on the way to about 850,000 of those who missed the 2010/11 tax return deadline. That’s a vast number, but a massive drop compared to last year, probably due to the new rules which will see the penalty for late filing rise to six times its previous level.

If you missed it you face a penalty of £100 even if you didn’t owe any money to the tax man. You can appeal against this fine within 30 days, and if the taxman agrees you have a good reason for lateness he’ll cancel it. The good news is that following criticism from tribunal judges the taxman seems to have softened his view on what is a valid excuse but if you haven’t yet submitted your form you might be in for a nasty shock.

There are several stages to the late filing penalty the first is the £100 we’ve already mentioned. In previous years the second stage was a further £100 charged after six months, but the time has been shortened the fine radically increased. New rules mean that if you are late by three months a penalty for each day after that is £10, and this continues for the next 90 days, so by the end of July you owe £900 in fines. And if you still haven’t sent in your return by July 31 you have to pay another £300 or 5% of any tax due for the period 2010/11 whichever is the greater.

A tip for you if you’re holding off on submitting your tax return because you don’t have all the information. There’s no need to delay further. The self-assessment system allows you to include estimated figures and confirm the correct ones later, you just need to note on the form which figures are affected.

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