Lockdown restrictions and mounting pressure on businesses could combine to cause a ‘dramatic rise’ in self-assessment filing this tax year, according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).
Almost a million self-assessment tax returns were filed late in the last financial year, but the situation has been worsened by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The chances of late filing increased dramatically once a second national lockdown was announced, the AAT said.
In responding to the concerns of its members, the AAT identified three potential solutions and brought them to the attention of the senior leadership team at HMRC. These include a two-month deferral on filing and payments; the waiving of penalties for late filing; and increased use of HMRC’s Time to Pay.
Phil Hall, Head of Public Affairs and Public Policy at the AAT, said: ‘There has been a raft of government assistance to mitigate the worst of the economic problems caused by coronavirus, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask what could be done to reduce the chances of millions of people being landed with at least a £100 late filing penalty, and in many cases much more, to add to the growing financial problems many are currently enduring.
‘For now, it’s important that we all do everything we can to be ready to meet the 31 January 2021 deadline, whilst recognising that’s very much easier said than done.’
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