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Taxation: Self-assessment

Question for Treasury

UIN HL11685, tabled on 30 December 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, what plans they have to extend the deadline for submitting personal tax returns beyond 31 January 2021.

Answered on

14 January 2021

The Government has carefully considered the arguments for extending the Self-Assessment filing date deadline from 31 January but presently has no plans to extend that deadline. The January deadline has been in place for many years and changing it could undermine taxpayer 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 that 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 then access HMRC’s enhanced online Time to Pay arrangements. This allows Self-Assessment liabilities of up to £30,000 – increased from £10,000 - to be paid in up to 12 instalments without having to contact HMRC beforehand. Taxpayers with Self-Assessment liabilities over £30,000 can contact HMRC directly to agree a Time to Pay instalment arrangement.

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