Flood victims won't face fines for missing self-assessment deadline

8th January 2016

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that victims of the disastrous December floods across the UK will not be fined for failing to submit their self-assessment tax return prior to the 31st January 2016 deadline.

Hundreds of businesses were affected by the flooding which devastated many areas of the UK last month.

Subsequently, HMRC has set up a special helpline to help flood-hit firms in the same way that provisions were made for those affected by the Somerset flooding in the winter of 2013-14. The helpline (0800 904 7900) enables taxpayers to discuss their options.

Flood victims could be hamstrung from completing their self-assessment tax returns for a number of reasons, most notably the loss of documentation or computer data.

An HMRC spokesman said: “No taxpayer affected by flooding will have to pay a fine if their return is late.

“We will accept a customer has a reasonable excuse if the delay is caused by flooding at their premises or their agent’s premises and the return is subsequently submitted without unreasonable delay.”

Those taxpayers and businesses affected by the December floods will be given the chance to pay their tax liabilities in instalments, with HMRC cancelling penalties and suspending debt collection for those who have missed deadlines who simply cannot pay as a consequence of flooding.

HMRC also stated that those who do receive a penalty notice for missing the deadline should subsequently contact a different helpline – 0300 200 3822 – and notify the tax authority that they suffered from flooding, after which the penalty will be waived.

They have also promised to take a “practical approach” when people or businesses have lost financial records due to the flooding.

With UK businesses expected to be claiming upwards of £5bn in insurance claims, it’s thought many firms could struggle to cover the payment for the clear-up.

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