The Treasury is currently in consultation on scrapping the automatic £100 fine for submitting tax returns late and replacing it with a points based system which may provide some wriggle room for first time transgressions.
The points system is rumoured to work much like the penalty points system drivers are subject to when they break speed limits and commit other motoring offences where it applies. This may come as a relief to many taxpayers who dread having to hit the ground running with their accounts following Christmas.
While the same £100 penalty for late filing remains in place for this year, if the Treasury does decide to change the rules, this may well give business owners something to look forward to and at the very least take some of the pressure off.
HMRC thinks the new rules will allow them to focus more attention on people who try to break the rules on a regular basis.
In 2017, a staggering 840,000 business owners and self-employed people missed the 31st January deadline to submit their tax returns.
Under the new points system, people who missed paying their tax on time receive penalty points which will then lead to more points if they miss again in the following tax year and so on until they reach a limit where a fine is imposed.
The points could apply for a limited period as they do with motoring offences before being reset after a period of good behaviour according to reports.