Self Assessment customers will not receive a penalty for their late online tax return, with the tax return deadline being extended to 28th February this year, HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRCs’) Chief Executive Jim Harra has announced.
Normally, late filing penalties are applied to all returns filed after the 31st January deadline. Those penalties are cancelled if the customer has a reasonable excuse for filing late. However, this year HMRC is not issuing late filing penalties for a month to help taxpayers and agents who are unable to meet the deadline. Late filing penalties will not be issued for online tax returns received by 28th February.
This will be a welcome move for many who, with lockdown and the problems caused by the pandemic, are finding it hard to gather information in time. But caution must be taken, as the move does come with a big footnote. There has been no movement on the date for paying your tax, which remains as 31st January. Any payment after this date will be subject to late payment interest.
HMRC's Chief Executive, Jim Harra, said, "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 31st 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."
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