HMRC waives late penalty fee for self-assessment 

HMRC waives late penalty fee for self-assessment 

Self-employed can now file their self-assessment in February, but bills must be paid by 31st January

HMRC has bowed to pressure and announced that it will waive the £100 late penalty fee for those who cannot submit their self-assessment tax return by the deadline, as long as they file it online by 28th February. 

However, the taxman has been criticised for not doing the “decent thing” and waiving penalties for late tax payments too. 

So far, more than 8.9 million people have filed their tax return for the year 2019/20. 

Commenting on the move, Jim Harra, Chief Executive at HMRC, said: “We recognise the immense pressure that many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear that some people will not be able to file their return by 31st January.

“Not charging late filing penalties for late online tax returns submitted in February will give them the breathing space they need to complete and file their returns.”

News welcomed by industry bodies and MPs

HMRC added that taxpayers are still obliged to pay their bill by the end of the month and will be charged interest from 1st February for any outstanding liabilities. 

Broadly speaking, the announcement has been welcomed by industry bodies and MPs. Treasury Committee Chairman and Conservative MP Mel Stride, said: “The decision will provide the flexibility that many individuals and businesses require during this difficult time.”

Derek Cribb, CEO at the self-employment trade association, IPSE, concurred to a degree. He added: “2020 was a financially devastating year for the self-employed, especially the estimated 1.5 million who missed out on the SEISS.”

‘HMRC could go further’ to help self-employed

Cribb was, however, quick to also point out that HMRC could have done more:

“[…] While this is a helpful intervention, we believe HMRC could go further to relieve some of the financial stress on the self-employed. In particular, we would urge government to do the decent thing and drop the late payment penalties on tax owed as well, to allow freelancers to pay this back in instalments without the threat of fines.”

HMRC has also highlighted that anyone who is unable to pay their tax bill can apply to spread their payments over 12 months, as long as their bill is under £30,000. They will need to file their tax returns first though. 

Those who have tax bills above £30,000 or need longer than 12 months to pay their self-assessment are advised to contact the tax office, which they can do here.


  • Gary Andrews says:

    Is this our support package? Others are getting 80% support for a whole year and we get nothing apart from a months grace before expecting payment in full.
    Jim Harra, Chief Executive at HMRC and treasury dark overlord Mel Stride continue to pursue their anti-contractor agenda for twisted ideological reasons.

    You can bet our doors will be the first to get knocked on (repossessed) when it comes to paying for this government’s 18 month economic destruction spree. Even Corbin on acid couldn’t have done this badly.

    Boris Johnson – are you doing this on purpose? 100,000 dead – RESIGN NOW!

  • Peter says:

    I don’t think a months amnesty is going to make up for a decade of HMRC going rogue under the likes of Jon Thompson and Jim Harra while the Treasury Committee continues to turn a blind eye. Bullying, corruption and psychological control techniques are common practice within departments where moral is rock bottom. The internal disfunctions are not only tolerated but weaponised along with malicious litigations against an unprotected public with no oversight or right to appeal in many cases.

  • Anon says:

    I speak, objectively, as a former HMRC officer: well aware that for all the good and decent, past & present, staff at HMRC (and formerly predecessor departments), the organisation does, as a fact, have a culture of casual corruption. How does that manifest?Corrupt individuals, corrupt practices, cover-ups, law-breaking and a toxic staff bullying culture which not only harms staff but surely has a detrimental impact on operational performance.

    To move forward, HMRC absolutely needed someone with a fresh outlook, not somebody like Jim Harra who is a key part of this entrenched culture by virtue of his senior management role over many years. Who really believes that he will reform the department and ensure corrupt staff past & present are brought to justice for their misconduct, and in some cases, their criminal law-breaking?

    Look forward to this department continuing to fail the country.

    • John Burnan says:

      Wow, wow and wow again – this department needs closing down. People have literally committed suicide because of their overhand tactics – when will they be regulated and legally liable for their behaviour?

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