Taxpayers will not face automatic fines if they miss the deadline of 31 January this year for filling their tax returns.
HM Revenue & Customs has given taxpayers a temporary reprieve and people who submit their 2019-2020 self-assessment return electronically can now do so without attracting an automatic £100 penalty – but returns must be filed on or before 28 February 2021.
This change of heart comes after calls for leniency as people faced difficulties in meeting the deadline as a result of the pandemic.
HMRC had said that taxpayers issued with late-filing penalties would have their penalties quashed if they had been unable to file on time due to coronavirus but appealing against the penalties would have increased the workload for taxpayers, their agents and the HMRC.
The deadline has only been extended by four weeks, so it is still important to submit your self-assessment tax return as soon as possible.
Jon Stride, co-chair of technical steering group of the Association of Taxation Technicians, which was one or the bodies that raised the issue with HMRC, advises: “It is even more important to get the return in as soon as possible where a taxpayer is struggling to pay.
“HMRC’s enhanced Time to Pay arrangements, which will allow taxpayers to spread their bills over the next 12 months, are only available to taxpayers who have filed their tax returns.
“Taxpayers within the tax credits system should make a particular effort to file on time if they have not reported their final income figures to the Tax Credits Office as that deadline remains 31 January 2021.”
How does this affect me? Should I still file my tax return now?
- Returns filed late (now 1 March 2021) are usually charged an automatic £100 penalty.
- Once the return is more than three months late, daily penalties of £10 a day can be issued for up to 90 days.
- Once the return is over six months late the penalties rise to the higher of £300 or 5% of the tax due.
What if I need help paying my tax on time?
- If you owe up to £30,000, you may be able to pay by instalments. To see if you are eligible, visit the government website to find out more about paying through instalments.
- Customers can also check on GOV.UK whether they need to declare, or possibly pay tax on any ‘casual’ income they receive.
- If you're self-employed and you need advice on delaying paying your tax bill, call the HMRC’s Payment Helpline on 0300 200 3835.
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