HMRC has announced that it won’t issue late filing and payment penalties in February, extending support for Self Assessment taxpayers struggling to complete their return on time.
This is the second year the tax authority has waived penalties to ease the pressure on taxpayers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tax body previously said that it would accept coronavirus-related ‘reasonable excuses’ for appealing against late filing penalties.
This latest announcement goes further, with a blanket pause on issuing penalties until 28 February.
HMRC’s Deputy Chief Executive, Angela MacDonald, said that they “know the pressures individuals and businesses are again facing this year due to the impacts of Covid-19.
“Our decision to waive penalties for one month for Self Assessment tax payers will give them extra time to meet their obligations without worrying about receiving a penalty.”
HMRC said that almost 6.5 million people have already submitted a return, but this leaves 5.7 million yet to file – and the filing rate makes it clear that a number of taxpayers and their agents will struggle to do so on time.
The tax authority is still encouraging taxpayers to file by 31 January if you can.
If you can’t pay your tax bill by 31 January, you won’t receive a late payment penalty if you pay in full or set up a Time to Pay arrangement by 1 April.
Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February, so it’s still best to pay on time if you can.
As mentioned, HMRC previously said that it would accept coronavirus ‘reasonable excuses’ for missing the deadline. Under that scenario though, it would’ve still issued penalties, and taxpayers would’ve had to appeal.
Other HMRC support for this year’s tax deadline includes:
HMRC has also reminded people to be alert to fraudsters emailing, calling, or texting and claiming to be from the department.
Visit our Self Assessment help and support page to read more articles about completing your tax return.
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