HM Revenue & Customs will take a lenient stance towards people who file after 31 January for Covid-related reasons, though penalties for paying tax late will still apply. HMRC have however been vague on what exactly counts as a valid coronavirus-related reason and they say that they will look at each situation on a case-by-case basis – so our advice would be that it is still best to file on time to be safe.
HMRC said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to file on time even if they can’t pay their tax straight away. But where a customer is unable to do so because of the impact of Covid-19 we will accept they have a reasonable excuse and cancel penalties, provided they manage to file as soon as possible after that.”
About 12 million people file their own tax return because they are self-employed, a landlord or have a second form of income. HMRC said slightly more than half had already filed a return by 4 January, meaning millions could benefit from an extension.
HMRC says late payment penalties will operate as normal as things stand, so it will not waive fines as a matter of course if you’ve been unable to pay due to coronavirus.
How do I ask HMRC to waive any fines for filing late?
There is currently no way of getting out of a fine in advance, so if you file late because you’re affected by coronavirus you’ll need to appeal against the penalty after you’ve been hit with it.
If you are fined, HMRC will send you a letter telling you about the appeals process, and you will need to follow this – explaining why coronavirus meant you were unable to file on time – to overturn these fees. If you’re fined £100 for filing late, you can appeal via Gov.uk or by post.
How can we help?
Finch & Associates act for a wide variety of individuals, and we have experience in providing tailored advice to suit your needs. Our expertise and depth of knowledge will ensure that you have peace of mind that your tax affairs are all in order. Please call the team on 01275 867350 or send us a message now.