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One week to go for HMRC late tax returns campaign

Taxpayers who failed to submit tax returns have only one week left to take up a special opportunity being offered by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The Tax Return Initiative is aimed at people liable to pay tax at rates of 40 per cent  and above and who have been told to submit a Self Assessment tax return for 2009/10 or earlier, but have not done so. The campaign is also available to others who have tax returns to submit for these years.

People have until 2 October to tell HMRC they want to take part, submit completed returns, and pay the tax and National Insurance Contributions (NICs) that they owe. By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign, launched on 3 July, people will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

After 2 October, if they have not sent in their tax returns and paid what they owe, HMRC can use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any unpaid tax and NICs.

HMRC might estimate the amount of tax they owe for each year and enforce payment by taking them to court or by asking a debt collection agency to collect it. HMRC may also refer such cases for criminal investigation.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said:

“Time is running out if HMRC sent you a Self Assessment tax return or notice to complete a tax return for 2009/10 or earlier and you have not acted on it. You need to go onto the HMRC website now and bring your tax affairs up to date.

“If your circumstances warrant it, you will be able to spread the payments.”

People can take part in the campaign by:

Going online and registering: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/tri.htm

Completing any outstanding tax returns and paying any tax and NICs owed by 2 October.

Help is also available from HMRC by calling a dedicated helpline on 0845 601 8818.

By coming forward voluntarily through the campaign customers will receive better terms, and any penalty they pay will be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

HMRC campaigns have so far collected nearly £510 million from people coming forward to HMRC, and more than £120 million from HMRC follow-ups, including over 18,000 completed investigations. There are also 23 criminal cases under way; three plumbers have been jailed and another received a suspended sentence.