HMRC delays late filing penalty for tax returns
By Rob Freeman | 26th January 2021
Self-assessment taxpayers have been given an extra month to file their annual return without a penalty.
But HM Revenue and Customs said bills should still be paid by the January 31 or interest will be charged on what is owed.
HMRC said almost nine million or the forecast 12.1 million people and businesses have filed their returns for the 2019-20 tax year.
Those who do not hit the deadline will not be faced with the usual £100 late payment penalty.
HMRC chief executive Jim Harra said the organisation encouraged people to file on time if possible, but the move reflected the difficulties being experienced during the pandemic.
He said: "We recognise the immense pressure many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear some people will not be able to file their return by January 31.
"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.
"We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic."
Customers are able to spread bills of up to £30,000 across up to 12 monthly instalments.
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