Brits can avoid fine if they submit HMRC self-assessment tax return too late

Those who file an annual self-assessment tax return online could avoid paying a penalty if they have a coronavirus -related excuse.

But HMRC said penalties for paying tax late will still apply if people don't meet the January 31 deadline this month.

Your earnings are used to determine the amount of tax you owe for 2019/20 and the amount of payments on account for 2020/21.

According to HM Revenue & Customs, around 5.4 million Brits still hadn't filed their tax return as of January 5.

But it said it will accept any disruptions caused by the pandemic as a reasonable excuse for people missing the deadline.

Usually, taxpayers will be given a £100 penalty on the first late day.

If it is delayed by three months, you might have to pay a penalty of £10 a day for a maximum of 90 days.

Meanwhile, for payments late by six months, you'll be fined 5% of the tax you owe or £300.

This could rise even more if the delays are after six months, to check you can visit the GOV.UK website.

You will be asked to prove to HMRC you've been impacted by coronavirus and that it's caused a delay in making the deadline.

An HMRC spokesperson said: "We want to encourage as many people as possible to file on time even if they can't pay their tax straight away, but where a customer is unable to do so because of the impact of COVID-19 we will accept they have a reasonable excuse and cancel penalties, provided they manage to file as soon as possible after that.

"Support is in place for those who may struggle to pay with customers able to spread their payment liabilities of up to £30,000 over 12 months."

The fines are automatic so you'll need to appeal to HMRC by explaining how coronavirus has impacted you.

This can be done by filling out an online forum or printing it off and sending it via post.

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