A record number of 1.8 million people have missed the deadline to submit their UK personal tax return, a figure that is almost double last year’s total and the highest in the system’s 24-year history. This just goes to show the devastating impact which 2020 and the coronavirus pandemic has had on all aspects of businesses for millions of people across the UK.

However, the pressure to meet this deadline was eased last week when HMRC announced that they will no longer be issuing fines for businesses that miss the deadline, so long as they file their tax return by 28 February. However, the 2.6 per cent annual interest on late payments will still continue as normal for overdue payments.

Karl Khan, HMRC’s interim director-general for customer services, said officials “know that many individuals and small businesses are finding it harder to pay this year, due to the pandemic”. “Anyone who can’t afford to pay their tax bill in full can set up a payment plan, once they’ve filed their return, to spread their tax bill into monthly instalments”.

In addition to the above, those who have caught coronavirus in recent weeks or who’s accountant has recently caught coronavirus; as well as parents who are having to home-school their children, will have a “reasonable excuse” if they can prove that this has had an adverse effect on their ability to file their tax return.

This is undoubtedly a tough time for many business owners. However, the time extension granted by HMRC and the available payment plans mean that a lot of the immediate pressure has been lifted. We are here to support you and your business through these tough times; Paul Farrington, Partner, said:

“Covid-19 has clearly caused much disruption across the world and that is no different for individuals filing their tax returns.

“At a time when the government have imposed a third lockdown on the UK population it seems only right that the deadline was delayed.

“Thankfully the digital accounting tools available in the modern world have reduced this burden on many of our clients and as a firm 98.6% of our tax returns were filed before the end of January.”

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our website, or call us on 01942 242 245 and we will be happy to help.