HMRC urged to show leniency towards late tax return payers

(3 minutes to read)

The FSB has called for HMRC to show some leniency towards those who submitted their tax returns late or incorrectly.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that HMRC should show leniency toward tax payers due to their poor relationship with the self-employed over the last year.

Examples include inaccurate reminders and penalty notices, phishing emails, poor customer service and an ‘unreliable tool’ for assessing employment status.

As well as this, latest HMRC statistics show that one in five callers to their helpline are left waiting more than 10 minutes to speak to an advisor.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, commented, “HMRC’s performance over the past year has been nothing short of calamitous.

“From premature late penalty notices, to misleading demands for payment, to increasing call waiting times, the self-employed are being let down time and again by this increasingly ill-equipped agency.

“When considering action against sole traders who have struggled complete returns, HMRC officials should have a good look in the mirror and consider their own shortcomings.

“They must remember that the self-employed are specialists injecting much-needed expertise and flexibility into our economy. The vast majority are not tax specialists – and they don’t have time for hold music.

“Looking ahead, HMRC’s plans to downsize are cause for concern. It’s hard to envisage any improvement to its customer services off the back of so many office closures.”

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The LITRG are also reminding people of their right (in certain circumstances) to contest HMRC’s late self-assessment penalties.

If circumstances have prevented someone from complying with their tax return obligations, LITRG reminds them that they may be able to avoid a penalty by claiming they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.

Head of LITRG Team, Victoria Todd, said, “Most taxpayers will want to do everything they can to file their tax return to HMRC on time, however, sometimes that may not be possible and HMRC will automatically issue a late-filing penalty.

“Where someone thinks they have a reasonable excuse for having missed the deadline, they must provide details and, where possible, evidence in support of those details to HMRC. It may be that a combination of reasons, rather than any one thing, may constitute a reasonable excuse to HMRC.”

She added, “It is up to the taxpayer to appeal a penalty if they wish to claim they have a reasonable excuse. If HMRC agree with the appeal the penalty will be removed, however if they don’t, it is possible to challenge HMRC’s decision as HMRC do not have the final word on whether or not an excuse is reasonable; that question is ultimately for the courts to decide. If someone is unable to agree with HMRC, they can ask HMRC to review the decision and/or appeal to the First-tier Tribunal.

“If someone claims a reasonable excuse, they must comply with the obligation in question without further delay, for example, submit a late tax return as soon as possible. This is because the law on reasonable excuse requires people to remedy a default within a reasonable time after the excuse has ended.”

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Why Dolan Accountancy?

Dolan Accountancy was set up by Simon J Dolan, the man behind the well-known brand SJD Accountancy. With over 25 years experience in the contracting marketing, Dolan Accountancy has the heritage, reputation and credibility you can trust. Working closely with our sister company, Contractor Umbrella, it means we can offer one low cost, fixed fee package at £95 + VAT per month. This gives you the flexibility of using both our Limited Company Accountancy Services and our award winning Umbrella Service, for one inclusive cost. We don’t believe in tiered packages or hidden extra fees, instead we aim to give you everything you need, including:

  • Free Company Formation – This is where it all begins. Once you have decided on an available name, we will form your company free of charge (if using our accountancy services) and it will be ready for you to use in as little as three hours.
  • Free use of Contractor Umbrella – With changes in Public Sector IR35 Legislation we understand that sometimes you are required to contract via an umbrella company. We will keep your limited company ticking over, while you work margin free via our sister company, Contractor Umbrella.
  • A Dedicated Accountant – Your accountant will be there for any company or personal tax advice that you require. We will never outsource work, even to internal teams.
  • Free Access to FreeAgent – The founder behind the multi award winning FreeAgent platform was one of Simon’s first clients, therefore it only seems fitting that we offer all of our clients access to FreeAgent, free of charge.
  • Free Business Banking – We have decided to waive our commission so our clients can use Tide free of charge for the first year.
  • Unlimited IR35 Status Reviews – We will review all of your contracts for IR35 purposes and provide you with our professional opinion as to its status.
  • Free Registered and Director’s Service Office Address – Sometimes you just don’t want your home address on display at Companies House. When you sign up to our accountancy services, we will offer the use of our address as an alternative.
  • Your Business and Personal Taxation Needs – This includes Company Accounts, Director’s Personal Tax Return, VAT Returns, Payroll, Corporation Tax and Dividend advice, to name just a few.
  • Same day payments- We offer same day payments as standard providing funds are received into our account by 9am, for no additional fee.

If you’d like to find out more about how Dolan Accountancy can help you and your business, please give us a call on 01442 795100 or email or