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Fine time for Revenue

More than £1.1bn will be paid to the Inland Revenue in fines this year as a result of miscalculated or delayed self-assessment tax returns, according to research from IFA Promotion.

IFAP&#39s research shows fines for miscalculations made on tax forms will total £975m and there will be a fine of £98m for forms returned after the January 31 deadline.

Around £55m will be incurred in surcharges and additional penalties for outstanding tax payments of more than £1,000.

IFAP says the findings highlight the difficulties faced by taxpayers attempting to calculate their tax bill and says IFAs can do more to help people through the process to save time and money. It believes many of these fines can be avoided by using an IFA to make sure the forms are filled in correctly.

Its research shows there has been a steady rise in the number of late returns since self-assessment was introduced in 1997. There were 971,000 forms submitted after the deadline last year alone.

IFAP believes this trend is set to continue as the assessment forms and guidance notes from the Inland Revenue become increasingly bulky and complicated.

IFAP chief executive David Elms says: “It is no surprise that people experience problems filling out the 29-page, 438-box form, since it deals with taxable income from a variety of sources and can involve some pretty mind-boggling calculations.”

“These fines could be avoided by completing the form correctly and on time. By sitting down with an IFA to make financial preparations, consumers could save themselves a lot of money, time and aggravation when it comes to filling in their tax return.”

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