31st January Personal Tax Return filing deadline remains

News, Personal Tax,

There have been numerous calls over recent weeks from the various Accountancy bodies for HMRC to defer the 31st January Personal Tax Return filing deadline.

This was requested as Accountants, and their small business clients, have been under such pressure brought about by the pandemic. Many firms have upwards of 60% of their Returns to prepare and submit in the four weeks leading up to the deadline.

HMRC have now confirmed they will NOT be deferring this deadline, and the 31st January 2021 will remain in place.

There is some leeway though, as follows:

1 Late filing penalties

If a Return is submitted after the Personal Tax Return filing deadline, either as a result of delays caused by the impact of Coronavirus on the client or the accountancy firm, no penalty will be imposed.

There is no removal of penalties, but ‘pandemic related disruption’ to either the taxpayers business or their personal circumstances will be accepted as a ‘reasonable excuse’.

2 Late Filing Appeal

The usual one-month period to appeal a late filing penalty will be extended to three months. During this time, HMRC have said that those affected can have any penalty ‘cancelled easily’.

What will our stance be?

We are not advocating delaying filing unless it is absolutely unavoidable. There are various reasons for this:

  1. It will only be possible to confirm your tax liability, and to make a payment arrangement if necessary, once the Return has been finalised.
  2. Whilst HMRC have said that they will accept the pandemic as a reasonable excuse, we’re generally reluctant to rely on their ‘understanding’ until we’ve seen it in practice, and we haven’t seen it yet! Consequently, we’d prefer not to be reliant on it in this case, where quite a few clients could be affected.
  3. We’ve been working towards completing all of our Returns before the usual deadline, and, thanks to your support, we are on target to do that.
  4. Our seasonal cycle allows for this work to be completed at this point. If we were to defer a large proportion of the Returns, we would be unable to slot them in later in the year, when our other accounts work increases.

Given the above, we shall continue to push to complete all of the Returns that are necessary by the 31st January 2021.

If you’re a client who hasn’t yet provided their information PLEASE let us have it as quickly as possible.

If you’d like to discuss outsourcing your Tax Return to us rather than have to wade through its completion whilst juggling homeschooling and working from home, please get in touch. We’d be unable to help you hit the 31st January deadline, but, given the above, we may be able to help in February.