HMRC will waive late fee fines till February 28 for these submitting self-assessment tax returns

You need to register to file your tax return online

The filing deadline for a self-assessment tax return was technically October 5, 2020. If you register now, you are generally fine. However, it is important that you register as soon as possible as it can take up to 10 working days to receive your reference number.

The first time you are submitting a return, you can register on the HMRC website.

HMRC will then set up your online self-assessment account and send you a letter with your unique tax reference – a 10-digit code that you need when you log in for the first time.

If this is your first time filing online but already have a reference number, e.g. For example, if you have previously submitted a paper return, you should skip this step and simply register for the online service.

You can retrieve forgotten login / password information via

You need to log into your self-assessment account with your Government Gateway ID or with Verify.

  • Did you forget your Government Gateway details? You can get your user ID or reset your password online.
  • Forgot to check your details? You will need to use the forgotten username or password of the provider who verified your identity. See for more.

If this is the first time you log into your self-assessment account and have forgotten your unique tax reference number, you should be able to find it in previous tax returns or in other documents from HMRC, e.g. B. in payment reminders. It's also available on your HMRC online account.

If you cannot find your unique reference, you can call the self-assessment hotline on 0300 200 3310.

The deadline for submitting paper has now expired

The deadline for filing paper returns was October 31, 2020, so you need to submit your return online to avoid paying a fine. If you were to file a paper return now, you would be fined.

In addition to filing your tax return, you also have to pay your tax bill

It's not just tax returns that have to be filed by January 31, 2021. If you had to make an upfront payment (i.e. an upfront payment) by July 31, 2020 – and not everyone has to – the government gave you six additional months to pay, but that expires on January 31, 2021 so you have to pay unless you have agreed a separate repayment plan with HMRC. This payment is intended to cover approximately half of your 2019/20 bill and will be calculated using half of your actual 2018/19 tax year bill.

You will also have to pay any remaining tax from the 2019/20 tax year (known as the compensation payment) – unless you have also agreed a repayment schedule – and make your first invoice payment for the 2020/21 tax year. If you miss these payments, you will be charged fines and interest.

You can pay your tax bill by bank transfer, debit card, or check. You can also pay at your bank or building society if you have a payment slip from HMRC.

HMRC accepts money under the Faster Payments system, which allows cash to be processed in two hours. However, every bank has a limit on how much you can transfer under Faster Payments. The limits are between £ 5,000 and £ 100,000. See the limit of each provider. You can no longer pay the bill with a personal credit card or at the post office.

If you cannot afford to pay the tax, speak to HMRC urgently

If your bill is correct but you can't afford it, contact HMRC as soon as possible as you may be able to avoid late payment penalties by making an agreement to spread your payments over a period of time – see below for more on this. (Also check out our free Tax Code Calculator to make sure you have the correct tax code.)

You need a reasonable excuse for not paying your tax on time. This is usually something unexpected or out of your control that has prevented you from paying a tax liability. For example:

  • Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or the payment deadline.
  • You had an unexpected hospitalization that prevented you from going through your tax affairs.
  • You have had a serious or life-threatening illness.
  • Your computer or software failed shortly before or while preparing your online return.
  • Problems with the online services of the HMRC.
  • A fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return.

You can sign up for a repayment plan if you run into trouble – but interest will be charged

Those who owe less than £ 30,000 (and more than £ 32) in taxes in January 2021 (i.e. deferred payment in July and payment on account in January 2021) could use the Enhanced Time to Pay of the Use HMRC. Mechanism to agree on a repayment plan to distribute this tax burden and repay by direct debit over a period of up to 12 months – even if this goes beyond the payment deadline of January 31, 2021.

To use this service, you must have submitted your tax return for 2019/20 by January 31, 2021. We asked HMRC if this deadline has now been extended to February 28, 2021 and we will update this story when we know more.

You must also set up the repayment schedule no later than 60 days after the due date of a debt. In addition, no outstanding tax returns, other tax debts or other payment plans need to be set up. You can set up a time-to-pay plan online using your tax account or call HMRC on 0300 200 3822 (open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Note, however, that those who use this system will pay simple interest (i.e. no compounding) of 2.6% per annum from February 1, 2021 until their bill is repaid in full.

You will be penalized if you miss both the registration and payment deadlines

Failure to submit your return by the registration deadline will result in a £ 100 fine, even if no tax is payable. Additional fines of £ 10 per day will be imposed after three months up to a maximum of £ 900. After six months, you will receive an additional penalty of 5% of tax owed or £ 300 (whichever is greater), repeated after 12 months.

There are also additional penalties for late payment of the tax. If you don't pay on time, you will be charged interest immediately. After 30 days you will be fined 5% of the unpaid tax, after six months you will be fined 5% and after 12 months you will be fined again. So if you miss the January 31, 2021 payment deadline, sort it out ASAP.

The government offers an online tool for calculating how much penalties and interest you will have to pay if you fail to meet the deadlines.

Who can I contact for further advice?

The government provides help sheets and videos to help you file your tax return.

You can also contact HMRC directly by calling the hotline on 0300 200 3310. It is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also get general help from HMRC Customer Service on Twitter.

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