Exhausted doctors are among professionals who have been given more time by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to sort out their tax affairs without getting fined.
The department is waiving late filing and late payment penalties for self-assessment taxpayers for one month – giving them extra time, if they need it, to complete their 2020-21 tax return and pay any tax due.
Taxpayers are encouraged to file and pay on time if they can, by 31 January 2022, but HMRC says it recognises that Covid-19 is affecting the capacity of some taxpayers to meet their obligations in time for this.
Some taxpayers have also been unable to progress their tax paperwork because their agents have been pandemic victims.
The penalty waivers give taxpayers who need it more time to complete and file their return online and pay the tax due without worrying about receiving a penalty.
HMRC said the deadline to file and pay remains 31 January 2022, but the penalty waivers will mean that:
- Anyone who cannot file their return by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late filing penalty if they file online by 28 February;
- Anyone who cannot pay their self-assessment tax by the 31 January deadline will not receive a late payment penalty if they pay their tax in full, or set up a Time to Pay arrangement, by 1 April.
Interest will be payable from 1 February, as usual, so HMRC said it was still better to pay on time if possible.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s deputy chief executive and second permanent secretary, said: ‘We know the pressures individuals and businesses are again facing this year, due to the impacts of Covid-19.
‘Our decision to waive penalties for one month for self-assessment taxpayers will give them extra time to meet their obligations without worrying about receiving a penalty.’
Lucy Frazer, financial secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘We recognise that Omicron is putting people under pressure, so we are giving millions of people more breathing space to manage their tax affairs.’