Jessica Fino 22 Jan 2019 03:59pm

HMRC forced to apologise over late payment fines

The Revenue has admitted fining more than 650 taxpayers by mistake

HMRC has been forced to apologise for accidentally fining hundreds of taxpayers over late payments.

The Times reported over the weekend that the Revenue had denied fining people for failing to submit their self-assessment returns by mistake.

However, it issued an apology on Monday, admitting some people have been wrongly charged a late payment fine despite the deadline being the end of this month.

Around 653 people have reportedly received letters from the tax authority ordering them to pay a penalty of £100.

According to the report, HMRC’s tax calculator is also having problems, telling some taxpayers they owe no tax this year.

A spokesperson for HMRC said, "Due to human error in processing some online trust returns a small number of trustees or agents have been inadvertently issued with late filing penalties.

"We apologise for any issues this may have caused our customers and are writing to them directly to let them know."

In relation to the problems with its calculator, they said, “We are aware of an issue with payment reminders for a small number of customers. Anyone who is affected should contact us and we’ll put it right. Nobody will be charged a penalty or additional interest due to this problem.”

Blick Rothenberg said some of its clients received such letters. The firm said it contacted HMRC as soon as it became aware of the letters, and was informed this was a system error affecting tax returns not yet submitted online.

Robert Pullen, partner at Blick Rothenberg said, “I'm pleased that HMRC has finally admitted there's been a mistake.

“The mistake was bad enough, affecting as it did more than 600 people, but if something went really wrong it could hit thousands or millions.”