You won’t receive a penalty for your late online self-assessment tax return if you file by 28 February, HMRC has announced today.

The Government department has revealed it won’t be issuing late filing penalties for a month to help taxpayers and agents who are unable to meet the 31 January deadline.

However, taxpayers are still being urged to complete their return by 31 January, if possible.

And you’re still obliged to pay your bill by the end of January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities.

But if you can’t file your tax return by this Sunday’s deadline, you won’t receive a late filing penalty if you file online by 28 February.

Breathing space for taxpayers

Normally, you should expect to receive a fine if you file your return after the 31 January deadline. That penalty would be cancelled if you have a reasonable excuse for completing late.

But this year, HMRC isn’t issuing late filing penalties for a month.

HMRC’s chief executive, Jim Harra, said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to file their return on time, so we can calculate their tax bill and help them if they can’t pay it straight away.

“But we recognise the immense pressure that many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear that some people will not be able to file their return by 31 January.

“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.”

HMRC’s Time to Pay

If you need help paying your tax, HMRC has increased its support.

Once you’ve completed your 2019 to 2020 tax return, you can set up an online payment plan to spread your self-assessment bill in 12 monthly instalments, if the bill is up to £30,000.

You can apply for self-serve Time to Pay via the Government’s website. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

But if your bill is more than £30,000 or you need longer than 12 months to pay, you can call HMRC on 0300 200 3822 to discuss Time to Pay.

Be aware of scams

HMRC is also warning you to keep an eye out for copycat HMRC websites and phishing scams.

You must also be alert if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from the Government department.

Our tax return advice

Today’s news shows that HMRC has recognised the difficulties people are facing this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s still important for you to file your return as soon as possible.

You should also make sure you have either paid your tax liability by 31 January 2021 or have put a payment plan in place with HMRC.

At Churchill Taxation, our experienced team of tax advisers can help you complete your self-assessment tax return correctly and without the stress.

To book our services or find out more, call us on 07813 434195 or email: stephanie.churchill@churchilltaxation.co.uk

Steph Churchill

Stephanie Churchill

Managing director & co-owner of Churchill Taxation