Tax return deadline remains unchanged but more time to appeal

  • 22nd December 2020

Many people may have been hoping that HMRC would extend the deadline for the self-assessment filing deadline. Unfortunately this is not the case. Representatives from professional accountancy bodies have been pushing for an extension but HMRC has stated they will not be changing the 31 January 2021 deadline.

HMRC has stated that it “wants to encourage as many customers as possible to complete their returns by 31 January 2021, even if they can’t pay in full, because filing their return is key to crystallising their SA liability and being able to get our support, if they need it, to pay their tax.

But no-one will have to pay a penalty if they cannot file on time because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The deadline has been extended from 30 days to three months to appeal against a late filing or payment penalty.

HMRC has clarified that it will accept pandemic-related personal or business disruption as a ‘reasonable excuse’. If the return is late due to pandemic-related delay on the part of an agent, this will also be a valid reasonable excuse. Unfortunately there is no definition of what constitutes a reasonable excuse but it is almost certain that simply claiming your tax return is late “because of Covid” will not qualify as one.

So, the self-assessment deadline remains 31 January 2021 for 2019/20 returns and we would strongly recommend that you try to meet this deadline. If you do not have all the figures you need for your submission, you could use provisional figures and submit them and then amend them later on. This would eliminate any need for a ‘reasonable excuse’.

Any appeal must be lodged with HMRC as soon as possible and you must make every endeavour to pay as soon as you can. You must clearly explain in the grounds for your appeal how you or your agent has been affected by the pandemic which is causing an issue with regards to filing on time.

All data and figures referred to in our news section are correct at the date of publishing and should not be relied upon as still current.