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Tax Penalties Avoided for Those Affected by IT Glitch

With HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) pressing ahead with plans to make 'customers' deal with them only digitally, it is good to see that when a system issue with the EE network meant that some of the company's customers were unable to access the HMRC website on 31 January (the last day on which a tax return may be filed without incurring a penalty), they have agreed to allow those affected to file an extension.

The glitch meant that a confirmatory text message, needed to log in, was not received by many customers.

Difficulties in using the Government Gateway are well known. Despite protests, however, the Government is also intent on pressing forward with the requirement that small companies, landlords and the self-employed will have to file tax returns quarterly from April 2018, which seems an odd decision for a Government that claims to be committed to reducing the administrative burdens it imposes on its citizens.

On the plus side, the intention is that the chore of the annual tax return will be done away with for almost everyone by 2020.

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    The UK tax system is changing very significantly and in a very short space of time. In addition, HMRC are making increasing use of penalties – 28,663 were levied in 2015/2016 – so it is sensible for taxpayers to get down to their tax paperwork early in the year, not at the last minute when problems in obtaining and submitting the necessary information in time may prove insurmountable. However, if you have been treated unfairly by HMRC or any other official body, we may be able to help you resolve the problem and obtain redress.

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    The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.