HMRC is responding to the pressures we all feel as the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, makes normal life difficult once more.
The offer by HMRC is generous. Basically, they have announced that taxpayers who have still not filed their self-assessment tax returns for 2020-21, will be granted an extra month to file online without triggering a penalty, and an easing of late payment penalties if unable to meet tax payments falling due on 31 January 2022.
In a recent press release issued 6 January 2022, they said:
“HMRC is waiving late filing and late payment penalties for Self-Assessment taxpayers for one month – giving them extra time, if they need it, to complete their 2020 to 2021 tax return and pay any tax due.
“HMRC is encouraging taxpayers to file and pay on time if they can, as the department reveals that, of the 12.2 million taxpayers who need to submit their tax return by 31 January 2022, almost 6.5 million have already done so.”
This is a staggering admission by HMRC. Almost 50% of self-assessment returns due to be filed for 2020-21 – by 31 January 2022 – are still not filed.
In an admission of the pressures faced by tax practitioners and their clients, they go on to say:
“HMRC recognises the pressure faced this year by Self-Assessment taxpayers and their agents. COVID-19 is affecting the capacity of some agents and taxpayers to meet their obligations in time for the 31 January deadline. The penalty waivers give taxpayers who need it more time to complete and file their return online and pay the tax due without worrying about receiving a penalty.
“The deadline to file and pay remains 31 January 2022. The penalty waivers will mean that:
anyone who cannot file their return by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February 2022.
anyone who cannot pay their Self-Assessment tax by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full, or set up a Time to Pay arrangement, by 1 April 2022.
“Interest will be payable from 1 February, as usual, so it is still better to pay on time if possible.”