HMRC has confirmed that COVID-19 could be a “reasonable excuse” for filing your tax return late, but this is not automatic and taxpayers will need to provide details to justify their case. There are approximately 5 million people that have not yet submitted their tax return (deadline 31 January) and HMRC are encouraging everyone to do so before the deadline of 31 January 2021 even if you cannot pay the tax owed.
HMRC said that if taxpayers or their agents are struggling to obtain the required information in time for their self- assessment return to be submitted by the 31 January filing date, they can provide provisional figures on their return and then provide HMRC with the actual figures as soon as they can. They must state that provisional figures are being provided by ticking the appropriate data item box on the return.
The penalty appeal period has been extended to three months, and HMRC has indicated it is looking into potential changes to make appeals easier and quicker for taxpayers, agents and HMRC. Furthermore, there is now the ability to pay the tax owed in instalments providing that the bill is no more than £30k, see our previous article.