Farmers who have yet to fill in their tax returns should do so as quickly as possible to avoid a fine from HM Revenue & Customs.

Grant Thornton’s Carlton Collister said a rush of late returns in the run up to the 31 January deadline meant even those who had posted their forms in time could still be hit by a £100 fine (partnerships pay £100 for every partner).

This was because the HMRC would be unable to acknowledge receipt of every return during the stampede and the fines would be automatically computer generated.

The onus would then be on people to contest the fine by proving that their return had been submitted by the deadline.

“The system can get very overloaded,” said Mr Collister

Mr Collister said those concerned should submit their forms online or deliver them by hand to their local tax office.

“As of the end of this week (19 January) we will not be submitting anything by post.”