Self-Assessment Tax Returns: Part Two

Monday 25 January 2021

Written by Yedidya Zaiden

Self-Assessment Tax Returns: Part Two

Self-Assessment Tax Returns: Part Two 

My previous blog addressed the possibility that in view of difficulties taxpayers, accountants and HMRC were having as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, HMRC might defer the self-assessment filing deadline beyond the 31st January. 

HMRC have now announced that those who file online by 28th February will not face penalties for late filing, however payment must still be made by the 31st January. In this blog I explore the options available to you if you are struggling to file and/or pay your 2019/20 tax liabilities. 

If you don’t think you will be able to file your tax return by the 28th February: 

  1. Current advice from HMRC is to use estimates where possible rather than filing late. We would still advise that those who will be claiming SEISS grants should file by 31st January, as eligibility may very well be dependent on having filed SA returns by that date.  
  1. If circumstances do not allow you to do this, you will be able to appeal any penalty levied if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. HMRC have indicated that a simplified appeals form for covid related issues will be developed but this is unlikely to be ready for a few weeks. If you think that you may have to appeal a penalty, I would suggest that you keep records of the difficulties you are experiencing and any supporting evidence. 

If you need time to pay:

HMRC have been accommodating in allowing taxpayers to defer their on-account payments which were due in July 2020 and have now confirmed that payments due by the 31st January 2021 can also be deferred such that late payment penalties will not be levied and instead a 2.6% rate on interest will be applied to outstanding amounts. 

  1. If your tax lability is less than £30,000 you can set up a time to arrangement with HMRC online through your Personal Tax Account. The advantage of this is that you will not have to speak to an HMRC agent and any tax already deferred in July can be included in the arrangement. There are a number of conditions attached to this – the taxpayer must be up to date with their tax affairs, must set up the arrangement by 31st March 2021 and must not have any other payment plans with HMRC.  
  1. If you do not have a Personal Tax Account, you should be able to set one up fairly quickly. You will need your passport or a P60, your National Insurance number and an email address. 
  1. Those who don’t have a Personal Tax Account, whose tax liability is over £30,000 or who do not meet the criteria to apply online should contact HMRC on 0300 200 3822. It is important to be in touch with HMRC to arrange a payment plan prior to 28th February 2021 in order to avoid the automatic surcharge of 5% of the outstanding tax.   

A warning about scams: 

With the deadline looming and advice changing frequently, fraudsters are using the opportunity to trick people into transferring money or disclosing their personal details.  Criminals text, email or phone taxpayers offering spurious tax refunds or threatening them with arrest if they don’t immediately pay fictitious tax owed.  

Our advice is not to give out personal information, download attachments or click on links in unexpected text messages or emails. If you are unsure, check the communication against HMRC’s list here

If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article or for any other tax, business or accounting advice, please email Yedidya Zaiden at or click here to get in touch. 

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