HMRC extends tax deadline for Storm Desmond victims

HER Majesty Revenue and Customs is allowing individuals and businesses that have been affected by the recent flooding to file their self-assessments beyond the January 31 deadline, without the fear of a penalty notice.

This comes after calls from Institutes asking for more time to be given to those who had their livelihoods affected by the storm back in December.

The government department “recognises that many individuals and businesses have been affected” by the extreme weather and can now request to have additional time to file if a practice or individual has “a reasonable excuse”.

If you are unable to complete your client’s or your own tax return by 31 January 2016 due to severe weather, you are advised to send an email to with the email subject heading “Severe weather – SA peak”, and include the following information:

• Your clients’ UTR numbers. Please note, if you are sending these in an attachment, the file size must be no larger than 2mb per email;
• The reason you are requesting additional time to file, for example you or your client has been flooded;
• The expected date you will file by; and,
• The tax year (if not 2014/15).

You will receive an automatic acknowledgement that your email has been received by HMRC.

The tax authority will look at each request on a case by case basis. As long as the tax return is then received by the expected date a penalty shouldn’t be charged.

If you feel that you or your business has a valid reason to file your tax returns late, HMRC has released a ‘reasonable excuse guidance’ which you can find here.

You can also find HMRC’s payment guidance on its website, as well as its guidance on estimating records if they have been destroyed. Payment must be received by 31 January 2016.

Severe flooding

Last month, record levels of rainfall left thousands of homes and several accountancy firms without power in Northern England, particularly in Lancaster and Cumbria.

In Cockermouth, one of the worst affected areas with over 400 homes ravaged by the floods, Jordan Cooper, an associate partner at Tattersall Bailey Chartered Accountants, said a number of rooms in the office – which backs onto the river, are under a couple of feet of water.

“Fortunately we managed to put the PCs and client records above the water levels, but we’ve had to take the carpets up and the cupboards out of the kitchen area as the water, which is very dirty, leaves a mark,” says Cooper.

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