Will flood victims be fined for missing tax return deadline?

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For some of you, you’ll be glad to know that those affected by the December floods won’t have to meet the January 31 self-assessment deadline, HMRC has said.

There have been special extensions granted for those who have a reasonable excuse for filing late – including bereavement, illness or theft – but it is uncommon for large groups to be singled out for special treatment. With this being said, there were similar provisions made for people affected by the flooding on the Somerset Levels during the winter of 2013 to 2014.

The HMRC reasoning for this extension is that the flood victims could face a number of difficulties in filing returns including the loss of documentation or computer files and in some cases, taxpayers’ accountants’ premises will have been damaged.

An HMRC spokesman said:

“No taxpayer affected by flooding will have to pay a fine if their return is late. We will accept a customer has a reasonable excuse if the delay is caused by flooding at their premises or their agent’s premises and the return is subsequently submitted without unreasonable delay.”

We chatted to our Tax Manager, David Evans, and he said:

“This is a sensible decision by HMRC. I’m sure the last thing on the minds of those affected by the flooding is submitting their tax return! One word of caution though, the taxpayers premises or their accountants premises need to have been flooded in order to benefit from the deadline extension.”

HMRC advise that those affected by flooding should file their return online as soon as they can, even if they miss the deadline.

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