Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation, said: “HMRC has a common-sense decision to make. Either it can stick to the deadline and penalise all those families and self-employed people who are struggling to get to grips with the self-assessment process, or it can do the right thing and give them a lifeline by extending the deadline. Self-assessment is not easy and there are fines starting at £100 for missing the deadline even if you don’t owe any tax.
“The circumstances around this year’s deadline are different in that there will be a high number of people who will never have done self-assessment in their lives. They are going to miss the deadline not because they have been putting it off, but because they are newcomers. If reports are to be believed that 2 million have yet to meet the deadline just two days before it closes, then it is likely a lot of people will miss it.”
The reason why there are so many newcomers this year is because of changes to Child Benefit and an increase in the number of those self employed.