Over 10.7 million people submitted their Self-Assessment tax returns for tax year 2019-20 by 31 January deadline

03 February 2021

HMRC has reported that more than 10.7 million people filed their Self-Assessment tax returns in time for the deadline of 31 January 2021.

There were still, however, 1.8 million individuals who did not meet the deadline, but who will not be charged a late filing penalty, as long as they submit their return online by 28 February 2021. Anybody who did not pay their Self-Assessment tax bill by 31 January 2021 should pay their bill as soon as is practicable, as interest will be applied to any outstanding amount.

Where the outstanding balance is paid, or a payment plan set up prior to 3 March 2021, a 5% late payment penalty can be avoided.

Anyone who cannot file their tax return yet should aim to pay an estimated amount as early as they can, which will minimise any interest and late payment penalty. Those who are self-employed have the option of using the calculator on Gov.UK for assistance in estimating their tax bill.

The Interim Director General for Customer Services at HMRC, Karl Khan, said:

“Thank you to the 10.7 million customers who have sent in their tax returns.

We won’t send anyone a late filing penalty if they complete their tax return by 28 February.

We 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.”

Taxpayers can pay their Self-Assessment tax bill or an estimated figure in several ways, as follows:

  • Online
  • Via their bank
  • By post

More information concerning how to pay is available at GOV.UK.

Those who cannot pay their bill in full can apply to spread the cost, by way of setting up a payment plan, in up to 12 monthly instalments at GOV.UK, on the proviso that they have no:

  • Outstanding tax returns
  • Other tax debts
  • Other HMRC payment plans in place

The debt also needs to be between £32 and £30,000, and the payment plan must be set up no later than 60 days after the due date for payment. Taxpayers are advised that they should set the payment plan up sooner rather than later, and prior to 3 March 2021, to avoid the 5% late payment penalty.

Anyone who does not meet the requirements, or who needs more than 12 months to pay off their bill, can apply for a payment plan by liaising with one of HMRC’s debt advisers. Interest accrues on all outstanding balances, and that includes for those who are in payment plans.

For those Self-Assessment customers required to make Payments on Account, who know that their 2020-21 tax bill is going to be lower than that in 2019-20, for example, if they have seen a loss of earnings due to coronavirus, they have the option of reducing their Payments on Account. Further information relating to this is available online.

Taxpayers are reminded to be vigilant to phishing scams and fake HMRC websites. There is guidance available on recognising genuine HMRC contact here.


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