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

Published on 27 October 2021

Release: Immediate: Wednesday 27 October 2021

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

Illustration of a press release on a computer

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.3

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

Notes for editors

1. The 31 October 2021 deadline for 2020/21 paper returns only applies if HMRC have issued a notice to file a tax return for that year on or before 31 July 2021. See https://www.litrg.org.uk/tax-guides/tax-basics/self-assessment-understanding-basics#toc-when-must-i-send-my-tax-return-to-hm-revenue-and-customs- for more information.

HMRC will treat returns found in an HMRC office letter box when first opened on Monday, 1 November 2021 as delivered on 31 October 2021 for all purposes.

2. However, HMRC state that the UTR should be issued within 10 days (21 if abroad).

There are different ways of registering for Self Assessment depending on the taxpayer’s circumstances. See https://www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment/self-employed.

3. A good place to start is https://www.litrg.org.uk/tax-guides/tax-basics/self-assessment-understanding-basics and https://www.litrg.org.uk/tax-guides/tax-basics/digital-services-dealing-your-tax-and-tax-credits-online.

4. See our news article for more information: https://www.litrg.org.uk/latest-news/news/211015-don’t-panic-if-you-missed-5-october-self-assessment-registration-deadline

5. Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

The LITRG is an initiative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) to give a voice to the unrepresented. Since 1998 LITRG has been working to improve the policy and processes of the tax, tax credits and associated welfare systems for the benefit of those on low incomes.

The CIOT is the leading professional body in the United Kingdom concerned solely with taxation. The CIOT is an educational charity, promoting education and study of the administration and practice of taxation. One of our key aims is to work for a better, more efficient, tax system for all affected by it – taxpayers, their advisers and the authorities. The CIOT’s work covers all aspects of taxation, including direct and indirect taxes and duties. The CIOT’s 19,000 members have the practising title of ‘Chartered Tax Adviser’ and the designatory letters ‘CTA’, to represent the leading tax qualification.

Contact Hamant Verma, External Relations Officer, 0207 340 2702 HVerma@ciot.org.uk


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