HMRC announced yesterday that those who cannot file their tax self assessment tax return by the 31 January 2021 deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February.
They are still encouraging anyone who has not yet filed their tax return to do so by 31 January, if possible, but have confirmed they will waive penalties for the late filing of personal tax returns for the first time in their history.
HMRC have stated, however, that taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by 31 January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities. Customers can pay online, or via their bank, or by post before they file. More information on how to pay is at GOV.UK.
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.”
Normally, late filing penalties are applied to all returns filed after the 31 January deadline. Those penalties are cancelled if the customer has a reasonable excuse for filing late.
HMRC previously said they had been keeping the situation closely under review and it had become increasingly clear from the filing rate that some taxpayers and agents would not be able to file on time.
More information on how to pay your Self Assessment tax bill can be found on GOV.UK.