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HMRC Waives Penalties for Late Self Assessment Returns

HMRC Waives Penalties for Late Self Assessment Returns

HMRC has said that it will not levy penalties against anyone who narrowly misses the self assessment tax returns deadline of January 31st.

The Revenue has announced that fines will not be issued if returns are received before the beginning of March.

Anyone who needs to complete a self assessment return for the 2019/20 tax year is still being urged to do so before the end of January if they can but failing to do so will not this time result in a fine for late filing.

Tax bills due to be paid for the full tax year will still need to be settled by the end of January but the “immense pressure” people have been under over the past 10 months or so means HMRC has decided to be more lenient than usual when it comes to the issuing of fines.

Taxpayers are being reminded that they have the option of paying their tax bills more evenly over the course of the next year if they are unable to settle their entire bills immediately.

However, interest on amounts due will accrue from February 1st onwards where those liabilities are left outstanding, the Revenue has said.

Jim Harra, chief executive of HMRC, has said the “unprecedented times” we’ve all been living through in recent months has helped to create a situation in which significant numbers of people across the UK are unlikely to be able to file their tax returns on time this year.

“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,” Mr Harra said in a statement.

“We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic,” he added.

Close to 9 million people across the country have already filed their self assessment tax returns with HMRC and many more are expected to do so shortly before the January 31st deadline.

Roughly 42,000 people are understood to have established payment plans via HMRC’s websites in order to settle their tax bills for the year 2019/20 over the course of the next 12 months.

Those options are available to anyone needing to pay anything up to £30,000 for the year, with HMRC keen to note that the associated processes can be carried out entirely online.

David Tattersall
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