Business News

Late Returns Grace Period To End

Businesses are reminded that a seven-day grace period for late employers’ and contractors’ returns will cease from 31 March 2011.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that the Extra Statutory Concession B46 (ESC B46) would be scrapped next March.

Introduced in 1995, ESC B46 established the principle that penalties would not be charged when employers and contractors submitting tax returns and CIS (Construction Industry Scheme) forms had taken “all reasonable steps” to file their returns on time, but were not able to do so due to unforeseen circumstances such as postal delays.

With the advent of online filing, which is required for P35s and P14s and will become mandatory for Corporation Tax returns from 1 April, HMRC considers the concession redundant because the delays it was intended to address will no longer happen. Returns must therefore reach the department by their due date or incur a late filing penalty of £100.

Confirming the new penalty regime, HMRC said: “Any customers filing a return late will, as now, be able to request us to remove any penalty, if they believe they had a reasonable excuse for the delay in filing. We will consider every case on its own merits. Customers can also appeal against the penalty to a tribunal.”

LINK: HMRC briefing