“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem” – Milton Friedman

/ Tax

I’m sure most of you are nodding your head in agreement and you’ve seen this time and time again so what’s the problem now? Self-assessment deadlines of course.

For some a distant memory but not for those of you who did not submit your tax returns on time and face a £100 penalty charge! It’s a big problem HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have to deal with and ultimately find a solution to. But as we all know their problem solving doesn’t always go down well.

So what are HMRC proposing to do about this latest problem? New rules would include charging the ‘offenders’ higher interest rates on their debts to encourage them to pay on time and penalising those who persistently fail to pay their tax bills. There is no more effective way to penalise people than through their pockets but will this cause even more delays and will the excuses become more sophisticated – no more stories of dead goldfish then!

I bet it’s all down to the fact that it probably costs them more to collect even the smallest amounts – and they’re sending you a message that they mean business and don’t want to be messed around. Prevention is better than the cure so maybe they could reward you for paying early by offering some sort of incentive, or why not just get a good accountant to help you get your self-assessment done ahead of the deadline?

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