Posted by James Pearson on 26 Jan 2021
Late Tax Return Penalty Pushed Back
Self-assessment tax returns for 2019/2020 are due for submission by 31 January 2021, but HMRC has announced that late filing penalties will not be charged if the return is submitted online by 28 February 2021.
A late filing penalty of £100 is normally payable if a self-assessment tax return is not submitted by 31 January following the end of the period covered by the return unless there is a reasonable excuse for filing late.
HMRC have now announced that they will not charge late filing penalties for 2019/20 self-assessment returns that are not submitted by 31 January 2021, providing that the return is submitted online by 28 February 2021. According to HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra this is because “We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic”.
It is normally difficult to convince HMRC that there is a reasonable excuse for filing a late self-assessment return, given that there is a 9-month window in which the return can be submitted, but the pandemic has created unique pressures. HMRC, having reviewed how many tax returns they are still expecting to receive, are presumably expecting a wave of appeals against late filing penalties and have decided it will be easier to delay imposing penalties for a month. While this is a welcome move, be aware that this is likely to make it even harder to convince HMRC that you have a reasonable excuse for filing late if you fail to meet the 28 February deadline.
This additional month to submit your self-assessment return does not apply to the requirement to pay the associated tax liability by 31 January 2021. Late payment interest will be charged from 31 January 2021 on any unpaid tax at a rate of 2.6% pa.
We would encourage you to make every effort to file your self-assessment return as soon as possible.
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