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No late filing penalty if your tax return is filed online by 28 February 2021

HMRC to waive self assessment penalties for one month – HMRC Chief Executive Jim Harra has announced today that If you do not manage to file your Self Assessment tax return online by 31 January you will NOT receive a penalty as long a you file your tax return online by 28 February.

HMRC is still encouraging anyone who has not yet filed their tax return to do so by 31 January, if possible.

Do I still need to pay my tax bill by 31 January?

Taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by 31 January. Interest will be charged from 1 February on any outstanding liabilities. Customers can pay online, or via their bank, or by post before they file. More information on how to pay is at GOV.UK.

Taxpayers who cannot afford to pay their tax bill on time can apply online to spread their bill over up to 12 months. But they will need to file their 2019 to 2020 tax return before setting up a time to pay arrangement, so HMRC is encouraging everyone to do this as soon as possible.

HMRC’s Chief Executive, Jim Harra, said:

We want to encourage as many people as possible to file their return on time, so we can calculate their tax bill and help them if they can’t pay it straight away.

But we recognise the immense pressure that many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear that some people will not be able to file their return by 31 January.

Not charging late filing penalties for late online tax returns submitted in February will give them the breathing space they need to complete and file their returns, without worrying about receiving a penalty.

We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic.

Will I receive a late filing penalty if I do not file my tax return online by 31 January deadline?

Normally, late filing penalties are applied to all returns filed after the 31 January deadline. Those penalties are cancelled if the customer has a reasonable excuse for filing late. However, this year HMRC is not issuing late filing penalties for a month to help taxpayers and agents who are unable to meet the deadline. Late filing penalties will not be issued for online tax returns received by 28 February.

Is there any help to pay my tax liability?

HMRC has increased support for customers who may need help with their tax liabilities. Once they have completed their 2019 to 2020 tax return, customers can set up an online payment plan to spread Self Assessment bills of up to £30,000 over up to 12 monthly instalments.

Customers can apply for self-serve Time to Pay via GOV.UK. Interest will be applied to any outstanding balance from 1 February 2021.

Customers with bills over £30,000, or who need longer than 12 months to pay their bill, can call HMRC 0300 200 3822 to discuss Time to Pay.

Customers who are required to make payments on account, and know their bill is going to be lower than the previous tax year, for example due to loss of earnings because of COVID-19, can reduce their payments on account. Speak to your accountant who should be able to help you with this or contact HMRC on 0300 200 3822 for help.


We have been working hard to continue to keep you updated as the Government releases new information and are doing everything we can to support our clients during this uncertain period, please do not hesitate to contact us here if you have any concerns or queries.

HB Accountants is here to help you find optimum tax efficiency: giving you access to experienced accountants and useful information and support no matter your business size or sector. If you would like a no obligation discussion about how we can help you, please feel free to contact the team on 01992 444466.  We’re accountants for business and we’re here to help you grow.

Visit our COVID19 Business Hub for more information


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