Although the Self-Assessment online filing deadline remains 31 January, effectively, for this year at least, it is 28 February, if you want to avoid late filing penalties.
Is this a good thing for practitioners?
Feedback we have received would indicate the opposite, that extending the late filing penalty deadline means that the whole process will drag on for yet another month.
The apparent relaxation may also reinforce the notion that deadlines are flexible and that clients, who are inclined to leave things until the last minute, will assume that manyana can be invoked for another month.
Instead of drawing a line under the 2020-21 filing process and providing practitioners with an opportunity to take a much-needed break, perhaps a family holiday at half-term, the late-comers will still be dragging their heels – and pinning practitioners and their staff to their PCs – for yet another month.
Should the Treasury be obliged to compensate firms for this change in routine? Wouldn’t that be interesting? For Government mandarins to acknowledge that what may be good for tax-payers may not be so beneficial for the firms striving to keep their clients the right side of all-be-it shifting, filing deadlines.
Perhaps the Treasury could muse on this point and consider an early filing premium for taxpayers or firms that manage to keep within the 31 January deadline? Unlikely, but why not?
It would add incentive to the ‘filing before deadlines’ mantra and perhaps encourage clients who normally drag their heels to file in good time.