An Otley accountant is warning parents across the town to act now rather than face fines over Child Benefit payments.
Under new rules introduced last year, around 1.1 million families containing one adult earning more than £50,000 during the 2012/13 tax year, must repay part of their child benefit, while those earning more than £60,000 need to repay it completely.
The payments are declared by the high earner registering for Self Assessment and completing a tax return.
Andrew Thornton , who runs TaxAssist Accountants in Otley, said:
“For many families this will be the first time they have ever had to file tax returns and it is vital they don’t get caught out.
“They only have until January 31 to file their tax return electronically and it could take up to ten days just to register for online access if this is their first time filing.
“Anyone missing the January 31 deadline will be hit with an automatic £100 fine, with further penalties reaching £1,600 for those who file more than a year late.
“The only other option is to opt out of receiving Child Benefit in which case you’re not liable for the new tax Charge and won’t need to file a tax return for this.
“However you must ensure your affairs are in order, otherwise you may risk losing your entitlement to state benefits later in life.”
It is speculated that 461,000 families have already opted out of receiving Child Benefit but about 120,000 parents are still yet to take any action and risk being fined.