HMRC research shows that self-assessment awareness is growing amongst taxpayers

How successful has HM Revenues & Customs been at promoting awareness of self-assessment return deadlines? Well, if research by HMRC proves to be correct, then the answer is more successful than anyone – accountants included – would have thought possible.

The HMRC research clearly suggests that the tax department’s 2015/16 self-assessment tax return campaign is working and increasing awareness. The figures suggest that campaigning has persuaded more people than ever before to file on time and avoid penalties.

According to the research unprompted awareness of HMRC’s self-assessment campaign has reached its highest ever levels: namely, 52 per cent for individuals and 40 per cent for small businesses. What about those taxpayers who don’t automatically file on time without prompting? Well, the figures show that there has been pretty impressive growth in overall awareness of this HM Revenue & Customs’ campaign amongst individuals. The figures show that there has been a 5 per cent increase in the last full financial year of self-assessment deadlines –  up from 63 per cent in 2014/15 to 68 per cent in the 2015/16 financial year.

So where are we at now? Well, the statistics show that as a direct consequence of the self-assessment campaign, 70 per cent of small businesses and individuals now understand that the deadline for online self-assessment returns is 31st January; what’s more, they also know that should they fail to submit by this deadline, then they will incur strictly-enforced penalties.

The remaining 30 per cent either don’t know what penalties they are likely to incur, or are prepared to take the risk. However, it’s important that individuals and small businesses should fully appreciate these penalties are strictly enforced. Here’s what penalties you’re likely to face if you miss the deadline:  

  • Anyone missing the 31 st January deadline will face an immediate £100 late filing penalty, even if they do not owe any tax at all or have already paid any tax owed.
  • If individuals or businesses submit their tax returns 3 months after the deadline, they will face the following penalties: a penalty of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900, in addition to the fixed £100 penalty charge.
  • If you file your return 6 months late, you’ll incur a penalty of £300 or 5 per cent of the tax due, as well as the two initial penalties.
  • If you file your return 12 months late, you’ll incur a penalty of £300 or 5 per cent of the tax due, as well as the two initial penalties. In some instances, you may be asked to pay 100 per cent of the total tax due instead.

If you’d like any further information on self-assessment and late payment penalties, then contact Steven Glicher accountants on 0161 405 8007 or email

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