HMRC is setting aside the automatic £100 penalty for missing the self-assessment filing deadline for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 1.8 million taxpayers who missed the deadline on January 31 now have until midnight on Sunday, February 28 to make their self-assessment filing for 2019-20.
Thanks to an eleventh hour decision by HM Revenue & Customs, anyone struggling to complete their return on time can blame the coronavirus pandemic as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for late filing.
But COVID-19 is no excuse for not paying any tax due on January 31.
HMRC still expects taxpayers to settle their bills and will apply interest to any outstanding payments.
However, taxpayers can spread the payments, providing they owe less than £30,000 and do not have any other active tax debt repayment scheme.
Time to pay applications must be made before the end of March. The scheme covers income and capital gains taxes.
More than 42,000 taxpayers have already signed up for the service to manage tax bills totalling almost £130 million.
“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,” said an HMRC spokesman.