Good news! Self-employed workers who are yet to submit their tax return were given a late Christmas present as of (Monday, 25th January) – an extra month to fill it out!

HM Revenue and Customs said that self assessment customers will NOT receive a fine for missing the 31st January deadline, as long as they file their return by the 28th of February. More than 8.9 million customers have already filed their tax return, and HMRC is encouraging anyone who has not done so yet to file theirs before the end of January if possible. But anyone who cannot do that will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by the 28th of February.

For our CDC clients

I’m pleased that HMRC have extended the filing date, but what makes me even happier is that all our clients here at CDC have either already had their tax return filed, or they will be filed by the 31st  January. Thanks to my clients addressing queries on time and my amazing team working hard through the busiest month to get the filings done.

Payments are still due

Taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by the 31st of January, and HMRC say interest will be charged from the 1st of February on any outstanding liabilities. Customers can pay online, via their bank, or by post before they file, and more information can be found on GOV.UK

Spreading the payment

If you are struggling to pay your tax bill on time, you can apply to spread your bill over the next 12 months, but you still need to file your 2019-20 tax bill before you can set up the payment arrangement. HMRC are encouraging everyone to do this sooner rather than leave it until the last day, with HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra, saying: “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 the 31st of 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.”

Normally, late filing penalties are applied to all returns filed after the 31st of January deadline. Those penalties are cancelled if the customer has a reasonable excuse for filing late. However, this year HMRC is not issuing late filing penalties for a month to help taxpayers and agents who are unable to meet the deadline.

HMRC said previously that it was keeping the situation under review, but it has become increasingly clear from the filing rate that some taxpayers and agents cannot file on time, and they have decided that making sure no customer receives a penalty for filing late is the best way to help.

More support on offer

HMRC has also increased support for customers who may need help. Once they have completed their 2019-20 tax return, customers can set up an online payment plan to spread Self Assessment bills of up to £30,000 over up to 12 monthly instalments. Customers can apply for self-serve Time to Pay via GOV.UK. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from the 1st of February.

Customers with bills over £30,000, or who need longer than 12 months to pay their bill, can call HMRC on 0300 200 3822 for further help. Customers can also contact HMRC via webchat, Twitter or the Self Assessment phone helpline, and information can be found on the free HMRC app, or on their Personal Tax Account.

Fraud protection

To protect against identity fraud, customers must verify their identity when accessing HMRC’s online services. They must have two sources of information including:

  • credit reference agency data
  • tax credits
  • P60/payslip
  • UK Passport