NEARLY A MILLION penalty notices are being sent to taxpayers who failed to file and pay their self-assessment returns by the end of January, it has emerged.
By 20 February, HM Revenue & Customs will have completed the mail-out of fixed £100 fines to some 850,000 taxpayers.
It is expected the fines will boost the taxman's coffers by approximately £85m, although that could still grow with further late filers, while those who miss a three-month cut-off will then face daily fines.
Around 60,000 late returns have already been filed between 1 and 15 February, attracting the £100 fine. The figure so far this year is down on the penalty number for 2010/11.
An HMRC spokesman said: "Anyone who hasn't yet sent their 2011-12 tax return to HMRC will have already incurred a £100 late-filing penalty.
"To avoid any further penalties, they should send their return as soon as possible, as well as paying any outstanding tax due for the 2011/12 tax year."
A record 9.61 million people in self-assessment filed their returns on time this year, with an all-time high 7.93 million sent online. The remaining 1.68 million were sent on paper.
HMRC received around 578,000 on 31 January, the deadline day, while in the run-up to the deadline, a record 1,548 made their filing on Christmas Day, while 4,685 followed suit on Boxing Day. Another 27,161 filed online on New Year's Eve, with 12,077 submitting their return on New Year's Day.
Anyone filing late has already incurred £100 late-filing penalty. After that, daily £10 fines up to £900 are also in place if the taxpayer has not paid up to three months after the deadline. Should six months elapse with no payment, an additional penalty of £300 or 5% is imposed, whichever is higher. After a year, a further £300 or 100% of tax owed is imposed.
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