Muras Matters: 31 January Deadline

The Self Assessment Tax Return deadline for the year ended 5 April 2020 is fast approaching and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have confirmed that despite the current coronavirus pandemic there will be no extension to this year’s deadline.

Returns must be submitted online by midnight on 31 January 2021 to avoid penalties being charged. As the 31st falls on a Sunday this year the effective date for filing, if you are using an agent, will be 5pm on Friday 29 January 2021.

If you have not yet provided us with your tax return information for the 2019/20 tax year then this represents your last chance to send your details to us to enable us to try to complete your return by the deadline of 29 January 2021.


There is an automatic £100 late filing penalty for individuals who fail to submit their tax return by 31. The late filing penalty will be charged if a return is filed after the deadline irrespective of whether there is a tax liability.

Additional penalties will arise if the return is submitted 3, 6 or 12 months late.


It is possible for late filing penalties to be appealed, in very exceptional circumstances, provided a taxpayer can demonstrate a ‘reasonable excuse’ to support the late filing. However, the appeals process should not be considered a ‘safety net’ for not filing by the deadline since HMRC have a rather narrow definition of a reasonable excuse, although this year HMRC will consider the impact of Covid-19 as a reasonable excuse.

Normally appeals must be lodged within 30 days of the date HMRC issue the penalty notice, but the timescale for appeals has currently be increased to 3 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Any outstanding tax for the year ended 5 April 2020 also falls due on 31 January 2021. If the outstanding payment is not settled by 28 February 2021, then an additional 5% surcharge will be added to a taxpayer’s liability by HMRC.

To assist taxpayers HMRC allow electronic payments, typically via internet or telephone banking, which will be processed on the same or next day.

Our Current working arrangement – We remain ‘Open for business’

Our office premises are currently closed, however our staff are continuing to collect post, and are working from home as much as possible. They can still be contacted in the usual way either via email or by calling the office number where reception will divert your call to the appropriate staff member.

If you have any questions regarding the filing of your tax return or paying your tax liability by 31 January 2021, please speak to your usual contact at the firm.

To see our other news items please visit our Muras Baker Jones – Blog.