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Self-assessments 2019-2020: the reasonable excuse trap

16 February 2021 / Tom Henderson , Kelly Sizer
Issue: 4780 / Categories: Comment & Analysis
39235
False deadlines

Key points

  • HMRC announced that it would not charge late-filing penalties for 2019-20 tax returns as long as these were filed online by 28 February.
  • Subsequent late filing penalties are charged by reference to the statutory filing date not 28 February.
  • Taxpayers filing after 28 February claiming a reasonable excuse defence should do so by reference to a failure to file by 31 January not 28 February.
  • Furthermore taxpayers should file without unreasonable delay after that reasonable excuse has ceased.
  • Taxpayers with a valid reasonable excuse who file after 31 January 2021 still face an extended enquiry window.

Just six days before the 31 January 2021 self-assessment filing deadline HMRC announced that it would not charge late filing penalties for taxpayers who missed it – provided they file online on or before 28 February 2021 (see ‘No penalties if returns are filed by 28 February’...

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