HMRC shows leniency with Self-Assessment Tax Deadline as a result of planned strikes

People who submit their self-assessment tax returns on 1st or 2nd February will now not have to pay interest on payments due on 31st January.

Cash Flow Problems The extension has arisen as a result of the planned strike action by some HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) staff on 31st January. With the subsequent staff shortages at HMRC's call centres, thousands of well-meaning taxpayers may not be able to receive answers to queries about their tax returns and thus they may choose to delay filing their returns until after the 31st January deadline.

Whilst this is clearly a common sense approach for HMRC to take, Mitchell Charlesworth warns that it is important that tax payers still do their utmost to submit their online returns on time.

In their statement, the HMRC said:

"To make sure our customers are not disadvantaged if they cannot get through to HMRC's call centres on 31 January, we will not impose any late filing penalties for people who file their Self Assessment returns on 1 and 2 February.

The SA deadline remains midnight on 31 January. But HMRC will treat all returns that come in by midnight on 2 February as though they were submitted by 31 January. No customer will have to pay interest on payments due on 31 January that are paid on 1 or 2 February.

Acting Director General Personal Tax, Stephen Banyard, said: "We've always been very clear that we want the returns - not the penalties. For that reason, we don't want anyone who can't get through for help and advice on 31 January to be disadvantaged in any way."

Last year, around 600,000 people tried to file their self-assessment tax returns on 31st January, of which around 15%, or 90,000, tried to phone HMRC call centres.

HMRC is introducing a much tougher system of fines this year for late returns. A £100 penalty for a tax return that is one day late will apply whether or not there is tax owed. If your tax return is three months late, you'll have to pay a penalty for each additional day it is late.

If it's six months late, you'll have to pay a further penalty and another, final penalty, if it's 12 months late. Together these could add up to a penalty of £1,600 or more.

If you decide that you would prefer someone to take the burden from your shoulders and help you with next year's tax return, don't hesitate to contact your local office or complete a quick enquiry form.

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