Tax return warning issued to MILLIONS as 'biggest pitfall' revealed - Brits risk huge fines

Britons have until the end of January to submit their self-assessment

Published

Millions of Britons are at risk of being fined for failing to file their self-assessment tax return in time, an accounting expert warned on GB News this morning.

Andy Gibbs from the TaxAssist Accountants warned over five million people are still yet to file.

Tax returns must be completed before January 31, leaving those still yet to submit the form just weeks left to fill out the document.

Tax return: Andy Gibbs warned Britons had just three weeks left to complete the form
Tax return: Andy Gibbs warned Britons had just three weeks left to complete the form

Gibbs told GB News Breakfast: "At the moment there's about 12 million people that file tax returns in the UK and they're still 5.7 million according to the latest HMRC stats who are outstanding and still need to file.

"So quite a way to go to get all those returns in."

He warned the "biggest pitfall" Britons often fall into is not leaving enough time to submit their tax return.

While the forms can be completed relatively quickly online, those submitting a tax return for the first time require to register for a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).

It can take up to 10 days for a UTR to arrive from HMRC, delaying how quickly a tax return can be submitted.

Gibbs said: "The biggest pitfall really is just leaving it too late you know and maybe just burying your head in the sand.

"I mean we just say the biggest tip we could say is just be proactive.

"If you're using an accountant get in touch with them. If you're not using an accountant you haven't yet registered there are delays with getting UTR's which you need to be able to file your returns.

Tax return: The accountant warned of hefty fines for those who are late
Tax return: The accountant warned of hefty fines for those who are late

"So if you're a first time filer really the message is very clearly you know don't delay get online and really do it online as well.

"That's the way to to avoid those delays, avoid using malware possible as well at this stage just because everything online will be that much quicker."

Failure to submit a tax return on time can lead to hefty fines with an automatic £100 penalty issued to those who are late.

"There's an automatic penalty that applies but as time moves on those penalties start to rack up," Gibbs continued.

"So after three months you're looking at £10 daily penalties up to a maximum of £900 and there's more penalties coming in at six and 12 months and they can be tax geared as well so the more tax outstanding you have the higher those fines and penalties will be."