The Government has carefully considered the arguments for extending the Self-Assessment filing date from 31 January and has decided on balance not to do so. The January deadline has been in place for many years and changing it could undermine customer understanding and trust in how the Self-Assessment system works. However, the Government recognises that some taxpayers will have difficulty submitting their Self-Assessment return due to the impact COVID-19 has had on their personal or business circumstances.
HMRC do not charge penalties for failure to submit a return on time where taxpayers have a reasonable excuse. HMRC’s guidance explains that they will accept the impact of COVID-19 as a reasonable excuse for submitting a return late, provided that taxpayers explain how they were affected and submit the return as soon as they can. More information is available in the HMRC online guidance covering the reasonable excuse provisions.
Once they have submitted their return, taxpayers who are unable to pay all of their Self-Assessment tax due on 31 January can access HMRC’s enhanced Time to Pay arrangements. These allow liabilities of up to £30,000 – increased from £10,000 – to be paid in up to 12 instalments without having to contact HMRC beforehand.