Putting mistakes right
MISTAKES ON SELF-ASSESSMENT TAX RETURNS ARE RELATIVELY COMMON – THE KEY TO AVOIDING PENALTIES FOLLOWING SUCH ERRORS IS TO CORRECT THEM AS SOON AS YOU CAN
If you make an error, miss something off your tax return or think you have paid the wrong amount of tax, you can sort it out. You can amend your tax return, within certain time limits, and if HMRC accepts your new figures, you’ll receive a repayment or be told how much extra tax to pay.
Correcting your return
If you make a mistake on a tax return filed before the deadline, and that deadline still hasn’t passed, you can simply update the form. Otherwise, you normally have 12 months from 31 January after the end of the tax year to correct or amend the return. For example, with your 2014-15 tax return, you have until 31 January 2017 to amend it.
How you change a return depends on how you filed it:
To amend an online return, log in to your self-assessment online account, go to the ‘At a glance’ page and choose the option to amend your tax return.
To amend a paper return, write to HMRC and attach the return pages you want to change, clearly marked ‘Amendment’ at the top of the front page. You’ll find the address to send it to on your tax return, tax calculation or on your self-assessment statement.
Incorrect tax return penalties
There is a system of penalties for mistakes on your tax return. These penalties are based on the amount of tax you owe and are payable in addition to the tax owed, but if you have taken reasonable care to fill in your return correctly, you won’t be charged.
- If you have been careless, the penalty will be between 0% and 30% of the extra tax owing.
- If you have deliberately underestimated your tax, the penalty is between 20% and 70%.
- If you have deliberately underestimated your tax and attempted to conceal the fact, the penalty will be between 30% and 100%.