12,000 sent incorrect tax penalty notices from HMRC

HMRC has apologised to more than ten thousand people who were wrongly sent penalty notices after it believed they had failed to file self assessment tax returns.

The 12,000 individuals are among many who have been removed from HMRC's self assessment database following a cleanse of the database and an invitation to taxpayers to contact HMRC if they felt they shouldn't be in self assessment.

The penalty notice letters warned individuals about £10 daily fines for non-filing which start on Tuesday, as well as a fixed penalty of £100. HMRC is to send letters apologising to those affected.

According to national press, a spokesperson for HMRC said: "We are very sorry and can reassure these customers that we know who they are and that this letter is incorrect - they do not owe a penalty. We are writing to all of them to apologise and to explain this error."

"We can reassure these customers that they have been removed from self assessment," they added.

The deadline for online self assessment forms was 31 January, although strike action caused this to be extended to 2 February, while the paper return deadline was in October last year.

HMRC is introducing new fine penalties this year, meaning that as well as the fixed £100 for late filing, individuals will also be fined £10 for each additional day from Tuesday 1 May, up to a maximum of £900 over three months. Returns that are six months late will be charged an additional £300 or five per cent of the tax due, whichever is the higher.