Self-assessment: what you need to know for last-minute filing

HMRC said 2,700 taxpayers took time out on Christmas day to go online and file their self-assessment tax return for 2019/20. The latest numbers from HMRC is 8.9m taxpayers have now submitted their tax return. However, 3.2m have yet to submit their return with a few days left to file before the official deadline of 31 January.

On Monday 25 January HMRC announced late penalties will be waived for tax returns submitted after 31 of January but before 28 of February 2021. We’d like to draw attention to the fact HMRC still expect the tax to be paid on time and HMRC will not discuss a payment plan until the return is lodged.

As you may know, January is one of the busiest periods for accountants helping people meet the Self-Assessment deadline and helping them avoid costly mistakes – all before 31 January.  Here are a few useful pointers we give for last-minute filing.

HMRC online help

If you received any casual income, visit HMRC to check whether the income has to be declared. This might include:

  • selling things, maybe online, or at car boot sales and auctions;
  • doing casual work, such as gardening, food delivery or babysitting;
  • charging for the use of equipment and tools; and
  • renting out property or part of your home.

Remember expenses

For employees and directors, make sure you claim tax relief for any job-related expenses which your employer has not reimbursed. With professional fees or subscriptions, remember to include the amount paid during 2019/20, as these usually increase annually.

Where your own car, motorcycle or bicycle is used for work, a deduction can be claimed based on HMRC approved mileage rates. Remember that travel to and from work only counts if it’s to temporary workplaces.

If you have been required to work from home due to Covid-19 or otherwise, you can claim £4 a week for 2019/20 to cover the additional cost.

Remember income

For employees and directors, don’t forget to include any taxable benefits listed on your P11D if not automatically included by HMRC. Include interest and dividends received, although you can ignore ISA income.

However, for the self-employed, Covid-19 grants applied after 5 April 2020 are not included for 2019/20. It’s now too late to have any tax due collected via your PAYE coding, so make sure you are set up ready to pay HMRC by 31 January.

We strongly advise you meet the deadline, if you can, for your own peace of mind.

We asked Wendy McBride, ammu’s tax expert her views regarding future tax rises to recover costs of COVID-19 and kick start economic recovery.

Wendy McBride commented:

“Obviously, we don’t know what specific actions the Chancellor will take with regard to future tax rises in the Spring Budget, but we’re beginning to see some significant speculation in the media.”

Wendy added:

“Given the unprecedented actions the Government has had to take to deal with the impacts of the pandemic, I think we may well see some further unprecedented actions taken to deal with the recovery period and to help the economy to get back on track. I will keep watching any announcements that emerge from HM Treasury, and Revenue Scotland, in the lead up to the Spring Budget and will update you via these pages.

Ammu will also provide a full summary of any changes that are announced in the Spring Budget 2021 and I will include a range of potential tax planning opportunities and ideas for you to consider as you plan your investments and activities for the year ahead.”

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss anything prior to the Spring Budget, then do give Wendy a call or an email at to arrange a time to meet with you on a video call.