This time last month, more than 31,000 taxpayers were submitting their 2020/21 tax returns through self-assessment over the Christmas period.

According to HMRC, that included 2,828 who filed on 25 December 2021 itself – up from around 2,700 on Christmas Day 2020.

Christmas Eve, perhaps after the kids had been put to bed, was the busiest time for filing over the festive period with 19,802 returns sent in.

A further 8,641 tax returns for the 2020/21 tax year were submitted on Boxing Day 2021 – a month and five days before the 31 January deadline.

However, many of those taxpayers needn’t have bothered to rush over Christmas after HMRC’s surprising announcement in the new year.

Filing and payment extension

Earlier this month, HMRC cited COVID-19 pressures for giving taxpayers a one-month extension to file their tax returns and pay their liabilities.

The tax authority is still encouraging you to pay on or before 31 January 2022 if you can, but is waiving the instant £100 penalty for late-filing.

You won’t be fined if you file on or before midnight on 28 February 2022, although your liability will accrue interest at 2.75% from 1 February 2022.

A similar waiver applies if you cannot pay your income tax bill on or before midnight on 31 January 2022.

You either need to pay your bill (plus any interest) in full, or set up a time-to-pay arrangement, by 1 April 2022 to avoid a 5% penalty.

Setting up a time-to-pay arrangement

If you need to spread your tax payments over time, it’s worth setting up a time-to-pay arrangement with HMRC.

You do this online once your self-assessment tax return is filed and your liability for the 2020/21 tax year is worth £30,000 or less.

Usually, time-to-pay arrangements come with a 5% late-payment penalty, but this will not apply if you set up this arrangement by 1 April 2022.

You should prepare evidence, such as ongoing expenses, to show HMRC why you cannot pay your tax bill on time and how you’ll pay them back.

There’s still time

Even though we’re very close to the traditional self-assessment deadline day, the pressure is somewhat off thanks to HMRC.

All of our existing clients met the 31 January 2022 deadline well before now, but if you’re in a panic and require some help, we’re here to help.

Last month, just before Christmas, we published a blog that should inform you of the additional requirements for the 2020/21 tax returns.

We offer a comprehensive personal tax planning service, so feel free to get in touch with us today if you want our assistance.

Get ahead on your 2021/22 return

As soon as one deadline shuts, there’s not a lot of time before another one opens as the 2021/22 self-assessment clock restarts in the spring.

Obviously, we’re currently in that tax year and you won’t have all of your income and expenses ready to submit until it ends on 5 April 2022.

But assuming you’re keeping accurate records, perhaps through cloud accounting software, we can get straight to work on them from April 2022.

To find out more about what our expert team can offer, email us at or call us on 0141 221 257.