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Taxpayers are being reminded that if they missed the first self-assessment date of the 31st January, they only have until 28th February to submit and pay any tax owed.

With nearly 1.8 million taxpayers missing the January deadline date (almost double the number compared to the previous year), the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is advising that any tax owed for 2019/20 should be paid, or a payment plan set up, on or before 1st April 2021 to avoid a late payment penalty.

HMRC announced last month that if taxpayers were unable to file their 2019/20 tax return online by the deadline of 31st January 2021, they would not receive a £100 late filing penalty provided they file online by 28th February 2021.

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Victoria Todd, Head of LITRG, said, “If you have not filed your tax return yet, even if there is no tax due or you are able to settle the amount you owe on or before 1st April 2021, we strongly suggest you get your tax return submitted as soon as possible. Not only is interest accruing on any outstanding tax but leaving it until the last minute risks a late filing penalty if something unforeseen happens to prevent you from filing on or before 28th February 2021. Depending on the facts, you may not be successful at appealing any penalty if you had no good reason for missing the statutory filing date of 31st January 2021.

“We welcome HMRC’s latest relaxation of the late payment penalty, especially given our concerns about the ability of some taxpayers to set up a time-to-pay arrangement before the penalty would have applied. But we now have non-statutory relaxations on both late filing and late payment penalty regimes, both of which have been announced at relatively short notice. Coupled with the different dates for each type of penalty and the different rules for interest, these shifting sands create a complex landscape for unrepresented taxpayers to navigate. We encourage HMRC to think ahead around any further changes to avoid any unnecessary taxpayer anxiety and confusion.”

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