Martin Lewis: Money Saving Expert offers HMRC update ahead of Self Assessment deadline | Personal Finance | Finance

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Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, is well-known for providing money saving tips and tricks to Britons looking to slash their costs. Tonight was no different, and Martin focused on the upcoming Self Assessment tax deadline which occurs at the end of the month. Many Britons, predominantly the self-employed, will be working towards the January 31 deadline, which can prove a stressful time.

However, it is likely this stress has only been exacerbated by the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding this issue, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which oversees the system, has made an important announcement, which Martin relayed on tonight’s show. 

The Money Saving Expert explained that HMRC is now permitting late filings if a person has a “reasonable excuse” as to why they have been unable to submit by the deadline.

If they provide sufficient enough evidence, then the penalty which would usually apply for late filing will be waived.

READ MORE: PIP: DWP issues update to Britons on end of award period

If HMRC finds this reasonable, and the person makes every effort to file soon afterwards, their penalty is likely to be waived.

This will provide welcome relief to those who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and are trying to juggle this and the upcoming deadline.

HMRC would usually charge a £100 fine for those who miss the deadline, and increase this penalty the later a tax return was filed.

However, for those who are struggling with their finances, Martin also offered an important tip.

He suggested using the Time to Pay arrangement offered by HMRC to help ease matters.

This set-up may permit customers to spread their payment liabilities of up to £30,000 over a twelve month period to ease their financial burden. 

HMRC is reportedly looking at ways to make the appeal process for a fine a much simpler process.

Meanwhile, those who do file late, for whatever reason, can expect to receive correspondence from the Revenue.

This will lay out the fine payable, as well as explaining how a person can appeal within three months of the set penalty date. 

However, Britons are still being urged to submit their tax return on time where possible.

They should not simply use the HMRC guidance as a get out of jail free card, as this could potentially create problems later down the line. 

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of MoneySavingExpert.com. To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to www.moneysavingexpert.com/latesttip

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