Articles

HMRC To Accept COVID-19 As A ‘Reasonable Excuse’ For Filing Self-Assessment Returns Late

by Liz Seyi Digital marketing manager

The New Year means many things to many people, but one thing it should certainly mean for millions of people in the UK is the completion of a timely self-assessment tax return. 

The coronavirus crisis, however, may have complicated your efforts to submit your 2019 to 2020 return by the 31st January deadline. It might therefore be a source of reassurance for you that HM Revenue & Customs has announced that if the pandemic has impacted on someone in their personal or business life, it will accept this as a “reasonable excuse” for not filing a return on time. 

What has HMRC said? 

Missing the self-assessment filing deadline can trigger an automatic £100 penalty from HMRC. Late submitters potentially then face an additional £10 charge for every further day they do not file their return, up to a maximum of £900. The tax authority may then impose additional penalties on those who have still not filed their return after three months. 

Such a penalty scheme gives the 12 million people in the UK who need to complete a self-assessment return a clear financial incentive to do so. However, HMRC has also acknowledged that difficulties arising in relation to the coronavirus situation may be a factor in late returns. 

FTAdviser quoted a HMRC spokesperson as saying: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to file on time even if they can’t pay their tax straight away, but where a customer is unable to do so because of the impact of COVID-19 we will accept they have a reasonable excuse and cancel penalties, provided they manage to file as soon as possible after that.

“Support is in place for those who may struggle to pay with customers able to spread their payment liabilities of up to £30,000 over 12 months.” 

The implications of this late-returns policy for you 

While HMRC has been vague about what it would consider to be a “reasonable excuse”, stating that it will treat every appeal on a case-by-case basis, the policy is seemingly designed to reassure those who face adverse events such as unexpected serious illness, hospital stays and bereavement. 

But the tax authority’s stance does not mean that penalties will be automatically waived. If you miss the deadline, you can still expect to receive a penalty that you will then have to appeal. However, the tax authority has already extended the penalty appeals period to three months, and has been looking to make appeals quicker and easier, according to FTAdviser. 

Those who do miss the deadline for their self-assessment return will therefore need to be able to explain how COVID-19 affected them in their grounds for appeal, in addition to filing their return as soon as they can. 

Reach out to us for assistance with your self-assessment return 

Here at TS Partners, we would be pleased to help ensure every detail of your self-assessment return is correct in readiness for a timely return that avoids the risk of penalties. 

Contact us today for a more in-depth discussion about our tax compliance services in Plymouth and Wellington. We’ll be able to advise and assist so that you can ensure your tax obligations are dealt with, and subsequently get on with your life.


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About Liz Seyi Professional   Digital marketing manager

1,444 connections, 38 recommendations, 4,399 honor points.
Joined APSense since, March 14th, 2016, From London, United Kingdom.

Created on Feb 17th 2021 04:43. Viewed 139 times.

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