Self-employed given extra month to file tax return fine-free


HMRC will not levy a late fine on those who file their tax return by 28 February 2021.

The deadline to submit a self-assessment tax return is usually 31 January, and late penalties are usually applied to all returns filed after the deadline.

MRC chief executive Jim Harra said scrapping late fees until the end of February this year would give people the “breathing space” they needed to complete and file their tax return, 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,” he added.

More than 8.9 million individuals and businesses have already filed their tax return. Anyone who is self-employed or a partner in a business partnership must send a tax return to HMRC.

Taxpayers are still obligated to pay their bill by 31 January, and interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities.

Tim Stovold, head of tax at Moore Kingston Smith said: “Although it is close to the deadline, this concession will give those panicking about choosing between home schooling their children or completing their tax return a bit of breathing space. Half term plans should now include finishing off tax returns.”

BDO head of tax dispute resolution Dawn Register described the decision as “a very welcome move by HMRC.”

“HMRC clearly understands that those severely impacted by Covid-19 should not face receiving a ‘brown envelope’ in February as it would result in unnecessary angst. This additional time will provide taxpayers and advisers with crucial latitude, which is needed in these unprecedented times.”

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