Readers who have not yet filed their 2019-20 self-assessment tax return for 2019-20 have less than one month to do so. The online filing deadline is 31 January 2021.
Could clients reading this article, who have not supplied all the information we have requested to complete their outstanding 2019-20 returns, please contact us with any missing information without delay. We are now entering that period of ground-rush where the deadline approaches at ever increasing speed.
Initially, late filing – after 31 January 2021 – will trigger a penalty of £100. After three months this increases to a daily penalty of £10 for a maximum of 90 days. Followed by further penalties beyond this period.
There are excuses for late filing that HMRC may accept to mitigate any penalties. HMRC classify these as reasonable excuses. A reasonable excuse is something that stopped you meeting a tax obligation that you took reasonable care to meet, for example:
your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
you had a serious or life-threatening illness
your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
postal delays that you could not have predicted
delays related to a disability you have
You must send your return or payment as soon as possible after your reasonable excuse is resolved.
If you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
HMRC will consider coronavirus as a reasonable excuse for missing some tax obligations (such as payments or filing dates).
Explain how you were affected by coronavirus in your appeal. You must still make the return or payment as soon as you can.
What will not count as a reasonable excuse
The following will not be accepted as a reasonable excuse:
you relied on someone else to send your return and they did not
your cheque bounced or payment failed because you did not have enough money
you found the HMRC online system too difficult to use
you did not get a reminder from HMRC
you made a mistake on your tax return
Filing your return will not only avoid any penalties for late filing but will also crystalise the amount of tax and other liabilities – NIC and student loan repayments – that may also be due for payment 31 January 2021.