HMRC to accept bulk appeals for late tax returns due to Covid-19

Tax agents and accountants will be able to send bulk appeals against late filing penalties for tax returns filed after 28 February due to Covid-19

Agents will be able to complete a bulk appeals form for late filing penalties, but only for individuals and businesses who could not file their self assessment tax return due to Covid-19. The new process will be available from 24 March, for six months.

HMRC recognises the impact of the ongoing pandemic means that some individuals, businesses and agents have experienced difficulties in meeting their filing obligations. As a result, Covid-19 may be accepted as a reasonable excuse for any appeals made against a late filing penalty for self assessment taxpayers.

Agents can use the appeals form, which will be available on gov.uk from 24 March, to record details of their clients’ appeals. Once completed, the form should be posted to the following address: Bulk Agent Appeals, HM Revenue and Customs, BX9 1ZH.

In order for the bulk appeals to be processed correctly, agents are required to do the following:

  • each bulk appeals form can only be used for a maximum of 25 clients. Further forms can be submitted for additional clients;
  • bulk appeals forms must be sent to HMRC using the above address and if multiple forms are completed, these should be sent in separate envelopes;
  • all fields on the form should be completed for each client – without this, HMRC will not process the appeal for that client
  • this form must only be used where the tax return was not filed by 28 February 2021 due to Covid-19. If the penalty is subject to appeal on other grounds, existing channels must be used.

Individual appeals can still be completed via gov.uk or by post – this new route is for bulk appeals only. Appeals on behalf of one client should be filed using the SA370 or filed online.

Appeals for a High Net Worth Unit case should be submitted via gov.uk and should not be included on the bulk appeals form.

This service is only for a Covid-19 related reasonable excuse. HMRC reserves the right to carry out random checks to ensure the validity of the data or to seek further clarification as to the exact nature of the Covid-19 related reasonable excuse.

HMRC has already said that late filing penalty notices will not be issued to anyone who was unable to file their 2019-20 self assessment tax return by 31 January, provided it was completed by the extended 28 February 2021 deadline.

Sara White |Editor, Accountancy Daily, published by Croner-i

Sara White is editor of Accountancy Daily, published by Croner-i, and in...

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