As the country awaits the now-inevitable postal strike due to take place tomorrow and Friday, businesses up and down the country are bound to be affected. However, spare a thought for those eager to ensure that their self-assessment tax return is received on time. Tax returns filed late are subject to fines. However, in circumstances, such as the impending postal strike, it is out of the individuals’ hands.
It would seem that HMRC have recognised this. As such, they have issued a statement in which they guarantee to waive such fines for self-assessment tax returns which are received late as a result of the strike. There are, of course, conditions relating to this. Each individual must be able to prove that their tax return was posted in plenty of time but was delayed due to the strike. Anyone with such proof should be able to appeal the £100 fine. This means there is no scope for people “trying their luck” despite accountants commenting that it is inevitable.
HMRC are very strict with regards to their 31st October deadline and only mitigating circumstances would usually result in them waiving a late fee. However, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, s spokesperson for HMRC said that “circumstances of the [postal] strike” would almost certainly result in the fine being waived.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England Wales commented: “There is a tradition for some to put off doing their tax return until the bitter end, but this will only cause more stress than is necessary. Also, with the threat of a postal strike it is a good idea to aim to get your paper return in ahead of time so you won’t risk the £100 penalty.”