Postal strike may have impact on late tax return penalties

The possibility of nationwide industrial action by postal workers could affect the filing of tax returns due by 31 October.

Paper self-assessment returns must be submitted by that date if taxpayers are to avoid a £100 late filing charge.

It is estimated that some 9.2 million paper returns are expected to be filed by post this autumn.

However, the threat of a national strike, which may begin on or after 22 October, could mean that not all returns reach HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on time.

A spokesman for HMRC said that, should a strike take place, returns delayed in the post may be liable to a penalty but that taxpayers could appeal against the charge.

He said that HMRC would take the strike into account when assessing appeals: “There is an existing provision for this. If it is posted on 25 October and there is a strike, then that will have been done in good time so the penalty will be reduced to nil.”