Don't dawdle on your tax return despite HMRC's leniency

HMRC have announced that, because of a planned strike by call centre workers, they won’t fine anyone who files their self assessment tax return online on 1st or 2nd February.

Normally they would fine anyone who files after the 31st January deadline.

They have also announced that they won’t charge interest to anyone who pays their tax by 2nd February.

But what they haven’t said is that this represents a change in the actual deadline itself - and their own website still gives the deadline for tax returns as 31st January.

Why does that matter if I won’t be fined for filing late?

HMRC normally have a year from the date that your tax return was filed to open any enquiry they may wish to make into your return.

But if your return is filed late - and filing on 1st or 2nd February still counts as filing late, because HMRC haven’t changed the official deadline, they’ve only said they will not impose fines and interest - then HMRC have longer to open an enquiry.

So if you file on 1st or 2nd February, HMRC could potentially open an enquiry into your return any time until 30th April 2013.

For that reason, and for your own peace of mind, we would still recommend filing your return online by 31st January.

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