HMRC urged to delay self-assessment deadline

The self-assessment deadline is less than four weeks away, and will have to be met by a number of individuals, including self-employed agents. But the chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to extend it to provide further support to people amid lockdown.

The self-assessment tax return deadline is currently set at January 31, 2021, which is likely to create pressures for those who have to organise their taxes, as there are penalties to consider if this is not adhered to.

The coronavirus crisis has created upheaval for many people, including agents, who may require more time to assess their finances in greater detail, according to tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg.

Robert Salter, a service director in the firm’s global mobility team, said: “Given the government’s introduction of lockdown throughout England, and the similar restrictions which apply in the other home nations, there should be an extension to the 2019/20 tax return filing deadline which is due by January 31.”

“He added: “with the various lockdowns that people have experienced since March 2020, many are struggling to get together the data that they need – often from third parties.  However, as things presently stand, if they are not able to finalize their tax returns by the 31st, they would be subject to automatic late filing penalties – even if there is no tax due.”

Salter argues that the government should look at extending the deadline by at least four weeks – and potentially six or eight weeks.

He continued: “This [suggested extension] will provide additional time for taxpayers to gather the data they need to file the tax return correctly, but also provides the following advantages.

“Extending the tax return filing deadline in this way will provide HMRC with more opportunity to actually issue tax return ID Numbers (Unique Taxpayer Reference Numbers), which are an essential requirement for tax returns to be filed electronically.”

“The government has actually already shown some flexibility with the self-assessment tax system – for example regarding payments on account and balancing tax liabilities. Given the recent re-introduction of the lockdown, it would be sensible to show flexibility regarding the filing deadline too.”

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