Late filings to rise dramatically, warns AAT

Lockdown measures and mounting pressures on businesses could result in a “dramatic rise” in late self-assessment tax return filing this year, according to the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).

Almost a million self-assessment tax returns were filed late in the last financial year, with the situation likely to worsen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The likeliness of late filings rose dramatically once a second national lockdown was announced last month, the AAT said.

The organisation identified three potential solutions: a two-month deferral on payments and filings, the waiving of penalties for late filings and an increased use of the Government's time to pay scheme.

Phil Hall, head of public affairs and public policy at the AAT said:

“There has been a raft of government assistance to mitigate the worst of the economic problems caused by coronavirus, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to ask what could be done to reduce the chances of millions of people being landed with at least a £100 late filing penalty, and in many cases much more, to add to the growing financial problems many are currently enduring.

“For now it’s important that we all do everything we can to be ready to meet the 31 January 2021 deadline, whilst recognising that’s very much easier said than done.”

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