Unpaid Taxes: Fines

Treasury written question – answered on 24th September 2020.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much was paid in fines by people who submitted tax returns after the deadline of 31 January 2020.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The 2018-19 Self-Assessment tax return typically has an online filing deadline of 31 January 2020.

The value of payments attributed to late filing penalties for people filing late and after the deadline of 31 January 2020:

Tax Year penalty relates to

Penalty payments



Note: The figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand. The figure has been produced using an extract of the data provided for analytical purposes, and there may be small differences between this and other HMRC systems including the live SA system (CESA).

This analysis is based on penalties created and payments received to 4 September 2020. It includes penalty payments made during a period of about six months. Further penalties will be issued and paid relating to this tax return.

The figure provided should not be compared with previous figures provided for earlier years. More penalties will be issued and paid relating to all years but further payments to recent years will be relatively higher, so there will be greater changes to recent years. It is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between different years’ figures.

The above figures include payments for the initial £100 late filing penalty. Late Payment penalties have not been included.

These late filing penalties relate to: individuals who filed online after 31 January after the end of the corresponding tax year and at least 3 months after they were issued with a notice to file; individuals who have missed the 31 January deadline and who have not yet filed their SA return for the corresponding tax year; and individuals who did not need to file an SA return for that tax year but received late filing penalties due to late notification.

The figures may include some penalty payments relating to Trust returns as they receive the same penalty code. Penalty payments relating to partnership returns are not included.

Penalties are not used as a means of generating revenue. HMRC charge penalties to encourage taxpayers to meet their tax obligations and to act as a sanction for those who do not, so the majority who do pay correctly and on time are not disadvantaged. Not all taxpayers who fail to submit their return on time will have to pay a penalty. A penalty will not be payable if a taxpayer had a reasonable excuse for not filing their return on time or if they no longer need to file a return.

HMRC recognise that because of the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19, some taxpayers will not be able to meet their tax obligations on time, or appeal or review HMRC decisions within the usual time limit. HMRC’s approach has been to collect the tax and penalties due in a way that recognises the challenges that businesses and individuals are facing, and these figures reflect that approach.

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