Strike forces tax deadline day leniency
The tax office has conceded that strike action on tax deadline day will force them to treat taxpayers facing fines with 'leniency'.
A planned strike by some HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff on 31 January - the deadline for online tax returns - could leave insufficient numbers of staff to answer last-minute queries, forcing some people to submit their return after the deadline.
The planned strikes at call centres and inquiry offices by the public sector union (PCS) are in protest of the appointment of private companies to run call-handling trials in tow contact centres.
Of those choosing to send in tax returns on paper - which were required by 31 October - approximately 34,000 were filed after the deadline passed.
The new system of fines for filing a tax return late is much tougher this year, with HMRC charging an immediate £100 fine, even if no tax is owed. Penalties increase to £1,300 if a tax payer neglects to send in a form after six months, rising to £1,600 after a year.
Taxpayers with a 'reasonable excuse' will be able to write to their tax office quoting their unique taxpayer reference to lodge an appeal, and should not wait for a penalty notice.