Tax filing deadline extended

It was announced by HMRC on Monday that they have effectively extended the 31st January deadline for filing a 2019-20 tax return until 28th February. They stated that they will not charge the automatic £100 penalty for the late filing, provided the return is filled by 28th February. This eleventh hour change of heart is a victory for common sense as more than 3 million people have still not filed their 2019-20 tax return. Many clearly are suffering because of the pandemic and receiving a brown envelope in February would not have helped.

HMRC are expecting 12.1 million people to complete a tax return this year, and they disclosed that, so far, “more than 8.9 million” had done so. That leaves 3.2 million with just a few days left.

However, the government department said it was still encouraging people to file by 31 January if possible, adding that taxpayers were still obliged to pay any tax that they owe for the year by 31 January and that interest would be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February. In practical terms however, if you have not completed you return you will not know how much tax you owe and a few pounds of interest is probably not your biggest worry.

HMRC has increased support for customers who may need help with their tax liabilities. Once they have completed their 2019 to 2020 tax return, customers can set up an online payment plan to spread Self-Assessment bills of up to £30,000 over up to 12 monthly instalments. This can be accessed here: https://www.gov.uk/pay-self-assessment-tax-bill/pay-in-instalments This link also gives information on how to pay normally.

For many accountants the extra month to file has released extra staffing resources and they may be more ready to take on new last-minute clients. If you are struggling to meet your tax responsibilities, my firm, Baxterworld is keen to help. Just give Ray Baxter a call on 07803 624 748 and we will do our best for you.

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