Tax advice for all

Thousands of higher rate taxpayers who have failed to submit tax returns will receive letters from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) this month, reminding them that they have only one month left to take up a special opportunity being offered by the tax authority.

The Tax Return Initiative is aimed at people liable to pay tax at rates of 40 per cent and above and who have been told to submit a Self Assessment tax return for 2009/10 or earlier, but have not done so. The campaign is also available to anyone who has tax returns to submit for these years.

People have until October 2 to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe. By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign, launched on July 3, people will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

After October 2, if they have not submitted their tax returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any unpaid tax and NICs. Penalties of up to 100 per cent of the tax due, or even criminal investigation, could follow.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: “If HMRC has sent you a Self Assessment tax return or notice to complete a tax return for 2009/10 or earlier and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign offers you a quick and straightforward way to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out. You have until 2 October to submit your tax returns and pay the tax you owe.

“If you cannot afford to pay what you owe all at once, don’t worry. If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments.”

People can take part in the campaign by going online and registering: