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January SA Filing Deadline - Any changes announced

Will the January 31 Filing Deadline for SA change?

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Now that we have six months of Job Support Scheme measures to help our clients through has there been any representation made to the Government for a change to the 31 January filing deadline?  Smaller firms only have so much spare capacity and the prospect of having to help clients through Job Support Scheme claims from 1 November and steer them through the SEISS Grant extension and no doubt other Covid issues whilst in the thick of the tax return season that has been a late starter this year is feeling more than a tad too much.

Is there any news on the SA filing deadline at all?  Any hope for us hard pressed tax agents who have already put in a huge amount of additional time this year and are now facing massively increased working hours this winter to ensure their clients needs are met.

Replies (34)

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By K81
23rd Oct 2020 15:50

I would doubt any extension of the filing deadline is going to be announced, the P11D submission date did not change.

where I work we are actually ahead in our tax returns, a lot of our clients took the lockdown as a chance to get their paperwork together.

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By michaelbeaver
23rd Oct 2020 16:20

We've had the opposite. Some people brought their paperwork in early. Others were clearly worried about their businesses and tax paperwork was the last thing on their mind.

Our practice is quite small, and we support a lot of clients who have payroll, so furlough and covid support has eaten a big hole in our resources.

I'd say we're about a month behind where we would normally be.

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 17:25

We are very much the same - and not relishing the thought of having to spread our resources between SA and Covid matters all the way through the tax return season when self assessment would normally be our primary focus at this time of the year - and no prospect of a break after the January push due to the need to deal with job support scheme claims, job retention scheme bonus claims and point clients in the right direction for SEISS grants.

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By K81
23rd Oct 2020 15:50

I would doubt any extension of the filing deadline is going to be announced, the P11D submission date did not change.

where I work we are actually ahead in our tax returns, a lot of our clients took the lockdown as a chance to get their paperwork together.

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By AS44NG
23rd Oct 2020 15:57

Jimess, I have asked the same question today. I am hoping that there is an extension, or as another poster suggested, at least a suspension of the late filing penalties until April.

We are around a month behind on where we should be in terms of filing personal tax returns due to our practice taking a hit from covid. I fear we are not alone this year.

I dislike January as it is!

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Replying to AS44NG:
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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 16:17

Yes we are pretty much the same - we kept in touch with our clients throughout lockdown and encouraged them to let us have their documents early, offering to collect etc. Not many took us up on this and with the extra work on furlough, providing advice to clients on Covid-19 measures, working with clients who needed support to help them through we are well behind and I am absolutely certain a lot of other accountants will be feeling pretty much the same.

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By gillybean04
23rd Oct 2020 16:50

They didn't extend the paper filing deadline, so I sincerely doubt they'll extend the online filing deadline.

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 17:09

I had a feeling it was a forlorn hope....

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By gillybean04
23rd Oct 2020 17:16

Nothing wrong with hoping for the best....just remember to plan for the worst ;)

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 17:27

Thank you! :)

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By Cheshire
23rd Oct 2020 17:13

Has anyone taken this up with their prof body? (I havent)

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 17:31

I thought it had been put to CIOT and/or ICAEW, but I have not heard that anything has been done yet - unless something is churning in the background.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
23rd Oct 2020 17:27

I've got half the outstanding returns that I usually have at this time of year.

No need for an extension, imho.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 17:57

Unfortunately not everyone is in that position and I do see a need for an extension. There seems to be some lack of joined up thinking along the line - Companies House extended their filing deadlines by 3 months yet HMRC have not supported this by allowing an extension on corporation tax payment so the CH extension in most cases is of negligible help due to the need to calculate CT liabilities anyway. It would be good if HMRC would put some thought into how an extension to filing deadlines would be of help. Not just for a host of hard pressed accountants but also for the business owners having opened up and are not directly affected by current lockdown measures but are working their socks off to keep their heads above water. Also those businesses working hard to keep a vital supply chain going. Neither scenario having a lot of spare capacity to deal effectively with accounts/admin issues as their focus is on getting the work done with staffing levels that are hit by self isolation, capacity to social distance or other Covid related issues.

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Replying to Jimess:
boxfile
By spilly
23rd Oct 2020 21:41

We were hit by most of our staff having to juggle work with home-schooling earlier and so being unable to give us their usual hours. Plus a key staff member went down with a serious case of Covid and is still not fully recovered. When this is combined with the extra furlough & grant support, plus supporting clients sobbing down the phone as they see their businesses decimated, we also find ourselves about a month behind despite working our socks off.
I’m not sure whether any extension would help though; at least I know that I can have a break in February. I’m exhausted now and dragging things on for even longer might just break me.

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 18:00

And as if we need reminding - I have just received an HMRC Help and Support newsletter telling me that there is just 100 days left to file a tax return for 2019/20 !

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By Jimess
23rd Oct 2020 18:01

And as if we need reminding - I have just received an HMRC Help and Support newsletter telling me that there is just 100 days left to file a tax return for 2019/20!

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By jonharris999
24th Oct 2020 11:09

I definitely would not support an extension. We are not significantly behind on last year. A good thing about sticking to 31 Jan is that SEISS round 4 will happen after the deadline, highlighting the complete and arbitrary ludicrousness of giving people a grant based on information two years old, excluding millions and forcing a change, I hope.

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By JD
24th Oct 2020 14:25

Like everybody else we did get bogged down with providing a lot of unpaid support earlier in the year, whilst staff worked at home/juggled kids. But we did get everybody back in the office towards the end of July and started to be much more selfish with our time (taking scissors to the phone line and pita clients).

Having worked right the way through, I am now around about a month ahead of the game and should 70% complete by end of this month. If they move the deadline now, clients will simply stop sending things in.

Sounds like you need an additional body on board at admin/payroll level to take some of the pressure off rather than an extension.

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Replying to JD:
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By Jimess
24th Oct 2020 14:55

We have admin and payroll support and they do help take the strain and have been invaluable. It has been as busy for them as it has been for us, although the admin side is easing a bit now and can pitch in with the prep work.
Thanks to everyone for their input. It feels like I got it out of my system yesterday by writing it down, finding that others were having similar experiences, some had been there and found their way through it and it has cleared the way for me - feel much better about it all today!
Have a great weekend everyone!

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By JD
24th Oct 2020 15:22

Glad you are feeling better, Jimess

We have used C-19 and created a deadline to encourage clients to get things in, by adding a couple lines to our chase letters. Seems to have worked quite well, or at least with the majority of clients.

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By Jimess
24th Oct 2020 15:34

Thank you!

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By Sarah Z
24th Oct 2020 15:04

I really hope there is no extension. I always need February and March off to have a break, get ready for the new tax season, etc

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By Jimess
24th Oct 2020 16:06

The whole of February and March! You must have a lot of very understanding clients :)

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Chris M
By mr. mischief
25th Oct 2020 12:50

No need for me thanks. At 1 November I usually need to average 0.8 tax returns per day to 31 January. This year it is 0.65. Clients got their stuff done in lockdown instead of just pratting around.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
25th Oct 2020 12:56

We’re behind - COVID support & FoC CJRS claims, coupled with staff shortages for 3 months have put us well & truly behind. No-one has volunteered there if early, which is just as well as we couldn’t’ve done it. Hopefully we can speed through the bulk of them Nov & Dec.

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David Ross
By davidross
27th Oct 2020 09:38

Why would anyone want an extension to the TEN MONTHS already allowed? We need to get one year done with so that we can get on to the next.

I have started pointing out to our clients that when quarterly reporting comes in, the deadline will be yanked forward a whole 18 months. Now is the time to get ready for that, not 'put off the evil day'

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Replying to davidross:
RLI
By lionofludesch
27th Oct 2020 10:18

davidross wrote:

Why would anyone want an extension to the TEN MONTHS already allowed?

I dunno - but companies with a nine month time limit saw theirs extended to twelve across the board.

I could see the rationale behind some short term relaxation for accounts due in March, April and May, but up to April 2021 was a ludicrous over-reaction, imho.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
David Ross
By davidross
28th Oct 2020 10:33

I'm not telling anybody about THAT one - clients would just see it as another excuse to hold back their records!

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Morph
By kevinringer
27th Oct 2020 12:46

It is up to each and every one of us who wants an extension to petition our PB and HMRC. I have already approached HMRC via the Forum and the PBs. Have you? If you haven't, how do you expect HMRC to know the impact/strength of feeling. Contact your PB and HMRC today.

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Morph
By kevinringer
27th Oct 2020 12:49

Covid has had very different impacts on different agents. Those that supply payroll services so had to take staff off SA etc to support CJRS etc. Those with clients is badly affected sectors such as hospitality and tourism may have had to spend extra time supporting clients to keep their businesses afloat, again time taken of SA etc. Also, clients in those sectors will be experiencing cashflow problems and one way to improve cashflow is not deliver the books to the accountant and therefore save paying the accountant's fee. Also, practices that have had to supply a lot of client support will have felt the stress themselves and may well have had staff casualties themselves: so they've had a lot more work to do with less staff to do it.

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Replying to kevinringer:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
27th Oct 2020 14:08

kevinringer wrote:

Covid has had very different impacts on different agents. Those that supply payroll services so had to take staff off SA etc to support CJRS etc. Those with clients is badly affected sectors such as hospitality and tourism may have had to spend extra time supporting clients to keep their businesses afloat, again time taken of SA etc. Also, clients in those sectors will be experiencing cashflow problems and one way to improve cashflow is not deliver the books to the accountant and therefore save paying the accountant's fee. Also, practices that have had to supply a lot of client support will have felt the stress themselves and may well have had staff casualties themselves: so they've had a lot more work to do with less staff to do it.

This is us.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By Jimess
27th Oct 2020 14:11

Thank you - you have put the issue in a nutshell. We have been there for our clients all the way through lockdown and beyond, and frankly it has felt relentless, but I would not have it any other way. I know of some accountants in the area that just closed their doors with no work from home offering to their staff, leaving their clients stranded when they needed their advisors the most. Their clients must feel very let down. You are right - clients with limited cash flow anyway will not wish to incur accountants fees until they really have to. We are working with human beings in very stressful times and when people get stressed it is hard for them to think logically and objectively - all they will see is delaying the payment of a bill - not the other issues that may flow from that.

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Morph
By kevinringer
27th Oct 2020 12:52

HMRC themselves are struggling and unilaterally changed things to help themselves. For example VAT DIY stopped processing applications in March and paid out 70% of the claim. They've only recently restarted processing applications from last March but I've got clients still waiting from March. HMRC reckon it is ok to give themselves an extra 7 months so why can't they see that businesses and agents need extra time too.

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