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HMRC sends out 12,000 penalty notices in error

APPROXIMATELY 12,000 people have been served penalty notices from HM Revenue & Customs in error, having initially been told they no longer need to fill in self-assessment tax forms.

The letters warn of £10 daily fines starting on Tuesday for non-filing. The recipients of the letters had originally been told that they could now settle their tax bill through PAYE.

Around 130,000 were taken out of the self-assessment process and HMRC’s records were changed, but 12,000 of them received the penalty notice by mistake.

The recipients do not have to do anything and will not be out of pocket. HMRC has apologised for the error.

An HMRC spokesman said: “We have identified that nearly 12,000 people have been sent a self-assessment daily penalty letter in error. We are very sorry and can reassure these customers that we know who they are and that this letter is incorrect – they do not owe a penalty. We are writing to all of them to apologise and to explain this error.

“The 12,000 customers are among the 130,000 who we have already taken out of self-assessment, following a cleanse of the database and our invitation to customers to contact us if they felt they shouldn’t be in self-assessment. We can reassure these customers that they have been removed from self-assessment.

“It is very unfortunate that this process error has taken the shine off the good news that we have taken 130,000 people out of self-assessment.”

The deadline for online self-assessment returns was 2 February this year. Paper returns were due in October last year.

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