Hundreds handed penalties by HMRC after missing tax return deadline

Hundreds handed penalties by HMRC after missing tax return deadline

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers were handed an automatic penalty earlier this month after failing to file their tax return in time for the 31 January self-assessment deadline, the tax office has revealed.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) urged offending parties to submit their tax returns ASAP to avoid further penalties.

An automatic £100 fixed penalty is issued to taxpayers even if they are just a minute late.

According to the figures, 745,588 of the total 11.4 million tax returns due are still outstanding.

Thousands more taxpayers missed out on penalties by a tight margin. Around 758,000 people completed their return on the last day before the deadline, while 30,348 taxpayers narrowly avoided automatic fines by completing their returns between 11 pm and 11.59 pm on deadline day.

The tax office said it handled 195,260 calls over the course of the day, while more than 92.5 per cent of total returns were completed using the department’s online service.

Angela MacDonald, Director General of Customer Services, said: “It’s really fantastic to see that each year, more and more self-assessment customers are getting ahead of the game and submitting their tax return before the 31 January deadline.

“But we’re not complacent, we want the number missing the deadline to be zero, and we’ll continue to adapt the process to make it easier and simpler for all our customers until every return is in on time and without avoidable errors.

“If you’re one of the small number that missed the deadline, please submit your return now to avoid further penalties. We really don’t want penalties, we just want tax returns.”

Salary comparison survey reveals the best-paying jobs for contractors

A new survey into pay trends claims to have revealed the top-paying industries for contractors.

The research, which was carried out by crowdsourced salary comparison website, suggests that the finance sector tends to offer the highest-value contracts to freelancers, with Risk Modelling and Quant jobs regularly offering a daily rate of £760 and Model Validation jobs paying around £610 a day.

Most financial sector jobs centred around risk management were revealed to be of particularly high value for contractors and freelancers.

Credit Risk Management roles tend to pay a daily rate of around £520, while Operational Risk Management and Risk Analytics roles pay around £505, the research found.

Jobs focusing on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) strategies were also ranked as ‘high-paying’, with an average daily rate of £495.

Alice Leguay, Co-Founder and CMO of, said that an increasing number of British business were seeking contractors who possess “specific skills and competencies.”

She said that many companies were fully “prepared to pay up for a targeted solution” when selecting contractors to tackle specific, specialist tasks within their organisation.

Support package unveiled for contractors hit by Carillion collapse

Contractors who have been adversely affected by the collapse of construction giant Carillion earlier this year will be able to apply for Government-backed loans to help plug gaps in their finances, it has been revealed.

The construction giant was placed into compulsory liquidation towards the end of January amid frightening debt levels of around £1.5 billion.

Under proposals backed by the Government, the British Business Bank will support up to £100 million of lending to contractors and small businesses affected by the collapse, while UK Finance will offer an additional multi-million pound package for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and extra help for anyone who is concerned about their mortgage or credit card payments, it has said.

Reports suggest that industry and Government will continue to work together to ensure contractors, workers and businesses alike are all supported following Carillion’s liquidation.

Recent figures suggest that as many as 30,000 contractors and businesses will be affected by late payments and cancelled contracts as a result of the collapse – while hundreds of workers will be made redundant.

The British Business Bank’s guaranteed lending comes in addition to separate funds created by Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and HSBC in recent weeks in order to extend further support to those affected by the collapse.

HMRC publishes list of ‘weird and wonderful’ late tax return excuses

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers rushed to file their tax returns before last month’s self-assessment deadline of 31 January – but not everyone was able to file their return on time.

In many instances, it is often the case that late-payers will offer up some very peculiar excuses to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) as to why they were unable to submit their return.

Ahead of the deadline, HMRC published an amusing list of some of the most bizarre ‘excuses’ it had received in recent years over late returns.

These included:

  • “My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.”
  • “I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.”
  • “I spilt coffee on it.”
  • “I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.”
  • “My business doesn’t really do anything.”

HMRC also unveiled an additional list of unorthodox expense claims it had rejected in recent years.

These included “birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub,” “A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts” and “vet fees for a rabbit.”

HMRC Director General of Customer Service, Angela MacDonald, said: “Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.

She said that “help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time,” but reminded taxpayers that in most cases, those who submit their returns late will need to pay a penalty.

And finally…

A group of scientists have made bold claims that humanoid aliens are likely to have walked alongside our ancient ancestors in Peru.

The news follows an extensive ‘re-examination’ of the mummified remains of three humanoid bodies found near the Peruvian city of Navca last year, which were previously dismissed as ‘a sick hoax’ by archaeologists and other experts.

The ‘alien-like’ bodies, which have ‘three fingers and three toes’, were originally identified as a hodgepodge of genuine mummified human remains which had been ‘mutilated and re-arranged’ by grave-robbing pranksters.

At the time, organisers of the World Congress on Mummy Studies were so shocked, they took to social media calling for an official enquiry into whether crimes had been committed against archaeology.

Since then, however, a separate group of scientists, which include Peruvian radiologist Dr Raymundo Salas Alfaro, have carried out further tests on the controversial ‘bodies’ – and claim to have reached a very different conclusion.

After carrying out a CAT scan on the remains, Dr Alfaro said that the bone density of the subjects indicated that the “three small specimens” were once “living beings.”

“We can scientifically prove the skull of these creatures have a cranial cavity similar to humans, but they have some strong differences,” he said.

Meanwhile, following extensive DNA tests on one of the subjects, fellow research team member, Dr Konstantin Korotkov, said: “There is no doubt the three fingers and three toes belong to this body.”

A Mexican journalist working for the team added that they almost had “enough evidence to consider this case real.”

Elsewhere, other scientists have indicated that they still believe the ‘bodies’ to be a hoax.