Ok, so I’ve written about the Self-Assessment tax return deadline all month but HMRC just keeps throwing us these curveballs. Previously, HMRC had said that there would be no late penalty fees for those that filed their returns late. But in a recent, and very last-minute, update they have now said sod the 31st of January deadline and that they have essentially extended the deadline to the 28th of February.
So self assessment customers will not receive a penalty for late online tax returns if they file by February 28th. Obviously, it would be great if everyone did manage to get their tax returns in by the original date of January 31st but if this is not possible then you don’t need to sweat (as much).
But what about late payments? Well, technically taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by the 31st of January as interest will be charged from February 1st on any outstanding liabilities. HOWEVER, more good news is that taxpayers who can’t afford to pay their tax bill on time can apply online to spread the cost of their tax bill over 12 months.
But in order to set up a payment plan you need to, yup - you guessed it, file your tax return to get your bill! So “the sooner the better” is the overarching message but the underlying one is “don’t sweat”. Customers can apply for self-serve Time to Pay via the gov.uk website. More than 25,000 customers have already availed of this service according to HMRC and all without having to call HMRC directly which is always an added bonus.
If your bill is over 30,000 though, or you need longer than 12 months to pay then the advice is to call HMRC (sorry) on 0300 200 3822 to discuss.
This turnaround was announced earlier this week by HMRC’s Chief Executive Jim Harra who said “[HMRC] 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”. What a top bloke!
Hopefully this is some welcome news in what is an otherwise stressful week and even gloomier month. I guess it would have been nice to know a wee bit sooner but hey, beggars can’t be choosers!
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