One million miss tax deadline: can you appeal?

One million miss tax deadline: can you appeal?

Almost one million people face fines for missing the tax return deadline on Friday 31 January. Will they be able to appeal?

Brean Horne
Tue, 02/04/2020 – 11:28

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Nearly one million taxpayers have missed the self-assessment tax return deadline of January 31 and have been fined.

Some 958,296 taxpayers missed the crucial deadline, the latest data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed.

Those who missed the deadline face the following fines:

  • One day late: £100
  • Three months late: £10 per day, plus the above penalty
  • Six months late: the highest of £300 or 5% of the tax due, plus the penalties above
  • 12 months late: all of the above penalties plus the higher of £300 or 5% of the tax due. (In some cases you could be fined 100% of the tax owed to HMRC)

Angela MacDonald, director general for customer services at HMRC says: “Customers who have missed the deadline should contact HMRC.

“The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders.

The excuse must be genuine and HMRC may ask for evidence.”

Legitimate excuses for filing late

If you have a genuine excuse for filing your tax return late you may be able to appeal your late fine.

Each appeal will be decided on a case by case basis.

HMRC may accept the following reasons:

  • Serious illness
  • The death of a partner or family member
  • Fire, flood or theft
  • Computer failure
  • Issues with HMRC’s online services

Appeals will be decided on a case by case basis and if yours is successful, you’ll need to make your payment as soon as possible after your excuse is resolved. 

Check out GOV.UK for a full list of legitimate reasons HMRC will accept. 

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Cost of TV licence set to rise for fourth year in a row

Cost of TV licence set to rise for fourth year in a row

The increase is a further blow to over-75s who must start paying the TV licence from June

Stephen Little
Tue, 02/04/2020 – 10:29

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The cost of the annual television licence fee is set to rise from £154.50 to £157.50 on 1 April, the fourth year in a row it has gone up.

The Government, which sets the level of the licence fee, announced in 2016 it would rise in line with inflation for five years from 1 April 2017.

The new licence fee amount equates to just £3.02 a week or £13.13 a month.

The BBC is under fire over its decision to scrap free licences for the over-75s from June 2020.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, says the increase is another blow to the hundreds of thousands of over-75s who will struggle to afford a TV licence when they are axed.

She says: “The clock is ticking, and with only a few months to go, the BBC and the Government must urgently sit down and broker a solution to the TV licence debacle.

“Many of the over-75s who will lose their free licence are housebound due to ill health and disabilities and are almost completely reliant on their TV for entertainment, companionship and as a way to stay connected with the rapidly changing world.”

The news comes after the BBC announced it was cutting jobs as part of a bid to save tens of millions of pounds.

The broadcaster provides nine national TV channels plus regional programming, 10 national radio stations, 40 local radio stations, national radio services, news websites and the iPlayer.

In the last financial year 95% of the BBC’s controllable spend went on content for audiences and delivery, with just 5% spent on running the organisation.

Backlash

The BBC is facing a backlash over its decision to scrap free TV licences for the over-75s.

From 1 June 2020, up to 3.7 million pensioners aged over 75 will have to start paying for the TV licence unless they claim pension credit.

Age UK has warned that those on low incomes, battling loneliness, ill health and disabilities will be hardest hit by the removal of the licence fee concession.

It says that the decision could exclude some of the poorest and oldest pensioners from watching TV.

In 2015, the Government announced it would no longer subsidise the cost of the licence fee for over-75s and the BBC would have to find the funding itself, starting in 2020.

This left the BBC with the choice of either scrapping the concession for the elderly or cutting broadcasting services.

Ministers are currently debating whether to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence fee.

This would mean replacing the current system of criminal sanctions for non-payment with fines.

Are you still eligible for a free TV licence?

Around 1.5 million households that include someone over 75 claiming pension credit could still be eligible for a free licence.

However, Age UK estimates that two in five of all those eligible don’t claim pension credit, often because they don’t realise they are eligible.

In order to claim pension credit your weekly income must be less than £167.25 if you’re single, or £255.25 if you are a couple.

The quickest way to apply for pension credit is to call the pension service on 0800 991234. Alternatively, you can check your eligibility online on the government website at https://www.gov.uk/pension-credit.

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