11 January 2021

The Guardian and others report that "People who file their tax returns late won’t face a fine this year, as long as they can show that the delay was due to coronavirus." We are still looking for a formal announcement from the UK government - we're checking its self-assessment pages and find a mention on the reasonable excuses page that being affected by coronavius can be grounds to appeal a penalty.

Tax deadline warning - 31/01/21

AS IF Brexit didn't suck enough already, there's another January 2021 date to keep in mind - 31 January 2021. That's the deadline to submit your self-employment tax return for tax year April 2019-April 2020. In the possible chaos of a No Deal Brexit with effect from 1 January, it's easy for that other deadline to slip one's mind.

You can fill in your tax return online via the HMRC website. You have until 31 January 2021 to do this - so the deadline's really not all that far away, then. There are automatic three-figure fines for failing to submit your tax return by the deadline. So do get a move on. Our more detailed tax deadline warning from October still stands, only with more urgency.

Yes, covid-19 has meant extensions for some self-employed taxpayers, giving them more time to pay the taxes they owe. But the deadline to submit tax returns remains unchanged.

Email newsletters to the self-employed from HMRC now alert taxpayers to the fact that the awful Making Tax Digital (MTD), which we thought we had seen off for the moment, will become mandatory for all self-employed folk from 2023. MTD requires the considerable extra admin and tax planning of submitting quarterly tax returns instead of the current annual ones. Currently, only those of us with a turnover around the £80k mark, and those who charge VAT, have to submit quarterly returns via MTD.

The Freelance will endeavour to keep members posted about these developments.