HMRC has responded to an appeal issued by the main tax and accounting bodies to confirm that the 31st January UK tax return deadline will not be extended, despite the current impacts of COVID on taxpayers, agents and HMRC helplines.
HMRC has, however, said that it will accept appeals based on "reasonable excuse" where delays are COVID related, including where an agent has been affected. The process of appeal is being reviewed by HMRC and simplified measures will be implemented.
HMRC confirmed again that they would not defer the deadline nor automatically waive late filing penalties for all taxpayers that file tax returns for the year ended 5th April 2020 after the 31st January 2021 deadline.
The regulatory bodies had also asked if HMRC helplines would be open on the basis that the filing deadline falls on a Sunday this year and support times were confirmed to be as follows:
- Saturday 30th January - 8am to 6pm (webchat available from 8am to 8pm)
- Sunday 31st January - 9am to 6pm (webchat available from 8am to 8pm)
The HMRC position is in stark contrast to the position adopted by a number of other jurisdictions, including the US for which the filing deadline was extended from 15th April 2020 to 15th July 2020 and Canada, where the filing deadline was extended from 30th April 2020 to 30th September 2020.
The full response by HMRC can be found at the following link