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HMRC extends tax return deadline to 2 February

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HMRC has extended the self assessment filing deadline to 2 February to allow more time for taxpayers who seek help on 31 January but are unable to get through because of strike action by HMRC staff.

‘Nobody who files online on 1 or 2 February this year will get a late filing penalty,’ HMRC said in a statement. A spokesman confirmed that the concession will apply for the purpose of interest on unpaid tax.

► Tax return deadline: HMRC announcement

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union are set to strike on 31 January in protest against the appointment of two private companies to run year-long call handling trials at tax credit contact centres.

‘This strike could have caused thousands of people to incur fines, so I am pleased that HMRC has taken this common sense approach,’ said David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary.

Gauke had indicated earlier this week that HMRC would cancel a penalty where the taxpayer failed to meet the deadline ‘as a direct result of a failing or delay by HMRC’.

Stephen Banyard, HMRC’s Acting Director General Personal Tax, said today: ‘We’ve always been very clear that we want the returns – not the penalties. For that reason, we don’t want anyone who can’t get through for help and advice on 31 January to be disadvantaged in any way.’