HMRC has rejected requests from professional bodies (ACCA, CIOT, AAT, ICAEW and ICAS) to relax the Self Assessment filing deadline.
HMRC will issue penalty notices as usual to all who file late but will allow more time to appeal.
Many members contacted ICAEW in relation to the 31 January self assessment filing deadline. ICAEW wrote to HMRC to relax self assessment filing deadline due to the Covid workload pressures on accountants. They have so much additional work this year helping clients make COVID-related claims for loans and grants. As well as suffering COVID related challenges from new working arrangements and health considerations of their own. Therefore, they may struggle to meet the filing deadline for all their tax returns.
Responding to the joint letter, Jim Harra, Chief Executive of HMRC wrote:
“[HMRC] 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.”
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Harra further added that they don’t want to complicate this message by sending a blanket signal that it’s OK to file late.
Harra explained that this could have some “serious disadvantages” for taxpayers. “De-coupling the payment and filing dates might confuse customers, and even lead to non-payment, interest accruing, and late payments being triggered.”
He added that it would also encourage some taxpayers to file late when they don’t need to.
HMRC will accept pandemic-related personal or business disruption as a reasonable excuse. If the taxpayer’s return is late due to pandemic-related delay on the part of an agent, this will also be a valid reasonable excuse.
HMRC will extend the appeal period from one to three months to give taxpayers and agents more time.
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