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HMRC Issuing 850,000 Late Tax Return Penalties

Fewer contractors will receive a late tax return penalty over the next two weeks in contrast to the same time last year. 

HM Revenue & Customs will be issuing 850,000 penalties over the next fortnight which is 550,000 less than in 2011. 

Letters are being sent to taxpayers who failed to send in their 2010/11 self-assessment returns on time. They will include an initial £100 fixed late-filing penalty even if there is no tax to pay but for anyone who still hasn’t sent in their return to HMRC, they risk further fines. 

All freelancers and contractors who file a return more than three months late will be charged an additional £10 penalty per day that the amount is outstanding, so there is scope for a maximum penalty of £900. 

Stephen Banyard, HMRC spokesperson, said: “We want the returns, not the penalties. So anyone who still hasn’t sent theirs should do so as soon as possible. 

“People who receive a penalty notice should act now to avoid further penalties.”

If you took advantage of the deadline extension and filed your return online on 1st or 2nd February, HMRC will not be issuing you a penalty.

And if you do get a late-filing penalty but want to plead against it because you have a reasonable excuse for not doing it on-time, you can appeal in writing by 31st March.

HMRC have issued examples of excuses for missing the deadline which include a delay in themselves sending you out an online activation code, or a family bereavement or illness.

If you do receive a penalty but believe that you don’t need to be in self-assessment, you should call the department on 0845 900 0444 to waiver the fee.  

Reduce the possibility of filing your tax return in late by employing accountancy services from Nixon Williams. We can prepare it for you and we will file the return with HMRC electronically, providing you with a copy for your records.

Why Choose Nixon Williams?

Nixon Williams provides fixed fee accountancy packages for contractors, freelancers, locums and consultants. Our friendly, low-cost service takes the stress out of accounting, taxation and any other financial issues that contractors may experience. For just £95 per month plus VAT our service includes:

  • Your own dedicated accountant including their direct telephone number and email address
  • Unlimited telephone and email support
  • Ongoing bookkeeping or access to our online accounting portal, Vantage
  • Handling general correspondence and queries with HM Revenue and Customs
  • Free company formation at Companies House
  • Assistance with opening a business bank account
  • Ongoing tax advice throughout the year
  • Completion of any personal taxation requirements
  • Calculation and advice on VAT returns and payments
  • Calculation and advice on PAYE payments
  • 98% of our accounting staff have either completed or are studying towards one of the following qualifications: ACMA, ACCA, CTA, ATT or AAT.

If you have any questions about contracting, becoming a contractor, starting a limited company or Nixon Williams, please contact our new business team on telephone number: 01253 362062 or email:


To appoint Nixon Williams as your accountants, please complete our simple client agreement form.

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