With so many people impacted by the pandemic, it would be reasonable to expect the calls for HMRC to extend the self-assessment filing deadline to be heard. However, it’s now confirmed that the 31 January deadline for 2019/20 returns will remain.

One crumb of comfort is that no one will have to pay a penalty if they cannot file on time because of the impact of coronavirus. HMRC will accept personal or business disruption as a “reasonable excuse”, though it will be down to the individual to explain exactly how they have been affected. The deadline for appealing against late filing or payment penalties has also been extended from the usual 30 days to three months.

The best bet is to file on time unless it’s genuinely not possible to do so. Even if you don’t have all the figures you need, use provisional ones then submit an amendment later on. It will save you needing to argue any case for a reasonable excuse at all.

If you have not brought or sent in your tax return information to us yet, it is important to do so as soon as possible, to ensure that your tax return is prepared and submitted before the 31 January 2021 deadline.

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