I haven’t filed a tax return with HMRC (Inland Revenue) in years, what do I do?

You are not alone! A surprising number of taxpayers simply find themselves years behind and this can be a great worry for you.

HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) formerly the Inland Revenue are increasingly applying effort to chase up people who have not sent in a UK tax return but it you contact them to bring you tax affairs up to date they are usually cooperative.

However, not all people need to send in a tax return. These people tend to be where:

  1. No tax return has been issued and
  2. Where no additional tax is due or
  3. Where no special claims need to be made or disclosed.

Do you need to send in a tax return? How will you know? A relatively straightforward review of your situation by a tax professional will reveal what needs to be done to bring your tax affairs back up to date!

Anyone else who has tax to pay, or a special circumstance to disclose, losses, non-residence etc and especially if you have already been sent a notice to submit a tax return all need to send a tax return to HMRC.

Failure to send in a tax return that has been requested will result in HMRC writing, applying penalties, estimating your income, your tax and applying further penalties and generally making a mountain of paperwork and nuisance. In extreme cases of delay HMRC will apply for daily penalties and then to the courts to seize assets.

My advice is always for you to prevent this from arising and take a qualified opinion of your situation as early as possible to ensure that there is scope to reassure you and to plan an approach to HMRC if necessary. Leaving things too long will antagonise HMRC and this allows them to increase any tax based penalties.

If you know that you have not paid UK taxes in years, the scary part is that HMRC can charge substantial penalties. However, using a qualified tax adviser gives you that impartial review to let you know exactly how big a problem you really have followed by a strategy to approach HMRC with your tax figures and minimise their likelihood of excessive charges.