HMRC extends tax self-assessment deadline by a month to 28 February
In the eleventh hour move, HMRC have announced that they are extending the tax self-assessment deadline by a month, from 31 January to 28 February as there are more than 3 million people who have still not filed their 2019/20 tax return.
It is hoped that the extension will be a sigh of relief for many individuals who HMRC say are faced with “immense pressure” due to the current pandemic. In usual circumstances individuals would have received a late filing penalty of £100 if their return were not submitted by 31 January.
However, HMRC have advised that taxpayers are still obliged to pay any tax that they owe for the 2019/20 tax year by 31 January and interest would be applied to any balance due from 1 February.
HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra yesterday stated that he would still encourage tax returns to be filed on time, but accepted this may not always be possible:
“We want to encourage as many people as possible to file their return on time so we can calculate their tax bill and help them if they can't pay it straight away.
We recognise the immense pressure that many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear that some people will not be able to file their return by 31 January.
Not charging late filing penalties for late online tax returns submitted in February will give them the breathing space they need to complete and file their returns, without worrying about receiving a penalty.
We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic.
We would always encourage self-assessment tax returns to be filed by 31 January, especially if you are an individual with tax liabilities of up to £30,000 and need additional time to pay. HMRC will only allow a Time to Pay arrangement to be set up using the online tool once your 2019/20 has been submitted and there is no outstanding return, debt or existing payment plan in place.