White rabbits! White rabbits! 1st of the month!
Following the late example of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, HMRC are offering a deal whereby dilatory taxpayers can ‘catch up’ with their Tax Returns, hopefully before the Red Queen says ‘Off With Their Heads’.
In other words HMRC have launched yet another campaign. This time it is aimed at those who have failed to submit tax returns in the past. They are now being given the chance to ‘catch up’, with the benefit of a 10% penalty in unpaid tax from prior years. This could be considered harsh by those sinners caught earlier and subject to heavier penalties, but I suppose there is more joy in heaven at a sinner who repents…
The difficulty could prove to be the tight deadline of 15 October, although HMRC do indicate a Time to Pay arrangement may be allowed. Analysing the figures and preparing the computations could prove problematic in a timescale where often the persons concerned may have poor or negligible records for earlier year events.
Setting individuals up to fail would always be an unhappy route!
Further, bearing in mind the fact that those who are dilatory are unlikely to look to those in authority first, it would perhaps be more effective to encourage the profession to help publicise the arrangements? Experienced professionals are more likely to be able to produce the sort of quality material HMRC require. Why do I feel like we are being treated as the ‘enemy’ when my whole professional life I have sought to help people to comply with their tax obligations and the law?
Still to stick to our knitting and make a living we should tell all those who regularly ignore us to comply and help them file tax returns – SOON!