Late self-assessment tax returns will avoid fine if submitted by 28 February, HMRC confirms

To help people cope with the pressure of the pandemic and the confusions it’s bought to the UK, HMRC has confirmed taxpayers now have until the 28 February 2021 to submit their 2019/20 tax returns – to avoid a penalty. However, it’s still advisable to meet the end of January deadline because “interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities”.

Usually, the submission of a late self-assessment tax return will land you with a £100 penalty. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, HMRC has made a gesture to help taxpayers who may be struggling to meet this years’ deadline.

In a news piece on the official government’s website, HMRC confirm it had “previously said that it was keeping the situation closely under review. It has become increasingly clear from the filing rate that some taxpayers and agents cannot file on time, and the department has now determined that ensuring no customers will receive late filing penalties if they file online before the end of February is the best way to help them.”

Jim Harra, HMRC’s Chief Executive, has said the following:

“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.

But 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.”

So far, almost 9 million taxpayers have already completed their self-assessment tax returns, and HMRC still recommends people meet the 31 January deadline where possible because “interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities”.

This isn’t the first bit of support and compassion shown by HMRC towards self-assessment taxpayers. It is now possible for those who are struggling to pay your tax bills in 12 monthly instalments. If this service is of interest to you, please visit the government’s website where you can apply for self-service Time to Pay. Please be aware that interest will be applied, and it’s advisable to avoid submitting a late self-assessment tax return, if possible.

Contact HMRC if you require further assistance

If you’re worried about submitting a late self-assessment tax return, or you would like more guidance, please contact HMRC. The information you need is available here.

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