In the past as long as you paid your tax liabilities on time and cleared any self-assessment tax due by 31 January, no late filing penalties were due. Even if you failed to pay your tax on time, late filing penalties were capped at £100 or nil if you were due a tax refund. The goal posts have moved! The 2010-11 tax returns have to be filed by 31 October 2011 if you are filing a paper return, or 31 January 2012 if you are filing electronically. If you fail to meet these deadlines you face the following penalty regime, even if your tax payments are up-to-date.
* One day late an initial penalty of £100.
* Three months late a daily penalty of £10 per day up to a maximum of £900.
* Six months late an additional £300 or 5% of any tax outstanding, whichever is the higher amount.
* One year late a further £300 or 5% of any tax outstanding, whichever is the higher amount.
As you can see the minimum penalty for filing 6 months late is £1,300 even if all your tax due is paid on time or you are due a tax repayment. If you have had a relaxed attitude to meeting the filing deadline in the past; you may like to reconsider your priorities for the filing of the 2011 return!