Following changes to child benefit law, 110,000 people are set to receive unexpected fines if they do not register for self-assessment in the next week.
Under new rules introduced last year, families in which one adult earned more than £50,000 during the 2012/13 tax year must fill in a self-assessment form and repay some or all of their child benefit.
"Households in which one adult earns over £50,000 will still get child benefit payments," explains Andrew Bennett, spokesperson for the HMRC. "But depending on how much they earn, they'll have to pay a percentage of that money back in a yearly tax charge.
"The amount they pay will be equivalent to a percentage of the child benefit they have received. So if you're earning £51,000 then you'll have to pay back 10 and if you're earning over £60,000 you'll have to pay a tax charge that is equivalent to the total amount of child benefit that you received that year."
It's not just parents who need to consider registering for self-assessment as Andrew explains:
"It could be that a mother and father have split up and a new partner has moved into the household. If that partner is earning over £50,000 they'll be liable for the tax charge."
Individuals who earn over £50,000 but don't want to register for self-assessment can choose to opt out of receiving child benefit. But, those who want to carry on receiving child benefit will need to register for self assessment and complete a tax return by 31 January, to say how much child benefit they've received.
For many families this will be the first time they have had to file a tax return and it is vital they don't get caught out by the deadline, as failing to file a return or filing it late can result in a fine being issued. If this is your first year you need to act quickly, as registration for access to the online self-assessment form can take up to seven working days to complete.
According to Andrew, 110,000 people have still not either opted out or signed up for self-assessment and with the deadline looming ever closer we advise them to get a move on!
Visit HMRC for more information or call the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays). You can use HMRC's online calculator to check how much you'll have to pay back.
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