The rising cost of Fines and their impact on Household Budgets

Fines refer to amounts paid to the government and/or government agencies for different offences.

Different types of fines:

Let's look at some of the common types of fines in the UK.

Traffic offences: Among the various traffic offences, the most common is speeding with a fine of up to £1,000 or up to £2,500 for speeding on a motorway. Motorists have to pay a penalty of up to £5,000 for careless driving, or for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, for failing to either stop an accident or report one, and for driving without insurance, the penalty is up to £5,000. Fine is £1,000 each for offences like careless or dangerous cycling, not having a MOT certificate, traffic light violations, and using a mobile phone while driving. For offences like not wearing a seat belt or cycling on the pavement, the fine is up to £500.

Parking: Parking tickets could be issued by local councils, police, private parking operators or Transport for London. Out of all tickets, the most common ones are from local councils and Transport for London. The cost of a parking ticket varies by location.

Example 1: Cambridgeshire County charges between £50 and 70 for parking tickets. Durham County charges £50 for offences like not showing a pay and display ticket and a higher penalty of £70 for serious offences like parking on double yellow lines.

Self-assessment of Income tax: In case you do not file your self-assessment tax return within the deadline, you will have to pay a penalty of minimum £100 for a delay of one day to three months. In case the delay is more than three months, the fine could be higher at £10 per day of delay (maximum £900) plus the basic penalty of £100. For a delay of more than six months, the fine will be the higher of either £300 or 5% of the tax liability plus all of the above-mentioned self-assessment fines.

Late payment of taxes or careless filing: For a delay in payment of taxes, the penalty can be up to 5% of the tax liability plus 3% interest. In the case of incorrect filing of tax returns, the penalty can be between 0 and 100% of the difference in the amount based on the offence. The highest penalty of between 30 and 100% is for the most serious offence, which is underestimating the tax intentionally and trying to hide the fact. For example, the government finds out that someone has more income than what is being filed in the tax return. In such a case, the penalty will be between 30 and 100% of the tax payable on the extra income.

Apart from this, you also have to pay fines for:

  • Delays in paying council tax
  • Delays in payment of TV license fees (up to £1,000)

Fines as part of the household budget:

Most fines are avoidable till the time they are presented, after which they become unavoidable. It is best to be aware of the various fines and ensure that there is no liability on you. In case you get one, the best approach is to pay the fine at the earliest.

Try our household budget calculator, and calculate the share of fines in your household budget.