The harsh regime of the UK taxman has been underlined by the revelations that this year 1.5 million fines were dished out for late filing, and penalties on the whole have upped by 56 percent in the last five years.
This has led people to further criticise HMRCs aggressive tactics, as many of the fined were forced to pay penalties even if they had a reasonable reason for late filing. A filing deadline is currently approaching with mail-filers required to do so by October 31. People who are completing their returns online have until January next year.
However the fines system has been universally panned and labelled as “draconian”. Also, people who have been issued fines have also been urged to appeal, as many simply believe it’s not worth their time, as one specialist said: “The majority of taxpayers do not bother to appeal because they assume that HMRC issues fines strictly in accordance with the law.”
Further criticism has suggested that the fines are a means of creating more revenue, although an HMRC spokesman denies this claim: “We want tax returns back not penalties, so nobody will receive a penalty where they file a tax return by the deadline or have a reasonable excuse for failing to do so. Penalties exist to encourage people to file on time.”