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New Revenue initiative targets self assessment defaulters

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is offering taxpayers who have failed to submit their self assessment tax returns for the 2009/10 tax year or earlier the chance to bring their tax affairs up to date.

Individuals who register with HMRC to take part in the campaign, and who submit their overdue returns and pay any outstanding tax by 2 October 2012 will receive the best terms on offer, and could avoid paying a penalty of up to 100% of the tax owed. Other charges including interest, fixed penalties and surcharges may still apply.

The initiative is principally aimed at higher rate taxpayers, but is also open to any individuals who have neglected to submit a self assessment tax return.

After 2 October, HMRC will begin to pursue outstanding returns and unpaid tax, with higher penalties for those who have failed to come forward.

Marian Wilson of HMRC said, ‘Penalties will be higher if we come and find people after the opportunity and some could face a criminal investigation. I urge people to come forward and disclose unpaid tax voluntarily’.

The initiative is the latest in a number of campaigns by HMRC which have targeted specific groups of individuals who were believed to have failed to pay their taxes, including medical professionals, offshore investments, plumbers and electricians.