HMRC offers flooded agents lifeline

Francois Badenhorst
Practice correspondent
Sift Media
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HMRC has given new instructions for accountants struggling to make the SA deadline after the UK’s December flooding havoc.

HMRC said that it recognised “many individuals and businesses have been affected by the recent flooding in parts of the UK”. “Where you or your clients are experiencing difficulties complying with the 31 January 2016 filing deadline as a direct result of severe weather, you can contact us to request additional time to file.”

The tax authority has instructed practitioners struggling in the wake of floods to write to [email protected] with the email subject heading “Severe weather - SA peak”. This temporary email address is specifically for accountants that want to request additional time to file due to flooding. “All normal communication channels must be used for all other enquiries,” said HMRC.

The email must contain the following information:

  • Your clients’ UTR numbers. (HMRC has requested that if you are sending these in an attachment, the file size must be no larger than two megabyte per email)
  • The reason you are requesting additional time to file, for example you or your client has been flooded
  • The expected date you will file by
  • The tax year (if not 2014/15)

According to an HMRC spokesperson, you will receive an automatic acknowledgement that your email has been received by HMRC. “In these exceptional circumstances we do not intend to issue a penalty notice if you notify us by 31 January 2016; and you/your clients have a genuine excuse for late submission of tax returns that are due to the recent unprecedented flooding,” said the spokesperson.

For accountants who’ve had their records destroyed, GOV.UK has guidance on estimating records if they have been destroyed here.

“HMRC will look at each request on a case by case basis,” said a spokesperson. “As long as the tax return is then received by the expected date a penalty shouldn’t be charged.”

However, if a penalty is charged the taxpayer or agent will have to appeal citing a reasonable excuse.


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