Just days left to meet paper tax filing deadline, warns LITRG

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG) is reminding taxpayers in Self Assessment who want to submit a paper tax return for 2020/21 that they have just a few days left before the 31 October deadline. Paper returns which reach HMRC after Sunday 31 October will normally attract an automatic £100 penalty.1 
But LITRG is also reassuring people that if they cannot meet this deadline, they can avoid late filing penalties by submitting their tax return online instead by 31 January 2022.

Head of LITRG Victoria Todd said: 

“If your paper tax return reaches HMRC after 31 October then a £100 penalty will normally be charged as a minimum. But you can avoid any penalty if you file online by 31 January 2022 instead.”

If the taxpayer already has a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) but has not filed online before using HMRC’s Self Assessment online service, HMRC say they should allow at least 10 working days (21 if abroad) before 31 January 2022 to complete and send their tax return to HMRC. This is because they will need to enrol into and ‘activate’ HMRC’s online Self Assessment service first using a code they will be sent in the post. If the person does not have a UTR already, LITRG suggests that they register online as soon as possible.2

LITRG understands that taxpayers used to completing their tax return on paper may feel nervous about switching to doing things online. But HMRC’s online Self Assessment service is user-friendly and support is available to help. This includes a wealth of information on the LITRG website.

Victoria Todd said: 

“You can ask for help by telephoning HMRC if you need some assistance to deal with your tax return online – perhaps because you lack IT skills or because you do not have internet access. HMRC also have an Extra Support Team which can assist taxpayers who need a greater level of support. They can help you find access to a computer and the internet, input information on your behalf or help you to do this yourself.

“Those who need to complete a tax return for the first time for the 2020/21 tax year should have notified HMRC by 5 October 2021. Where the 5 October deadline is missed, a person should still register as soon as possible. Provided they pay anything they owe by 31 January 2022 there should be no penalty for ‘failing to notify’ HMRC.”4