COVID-19 is reasonable excuse for self assessment late filing, says HMRC 15 Jan 2021HMRC says it will accept coronavirus (COVID-19) as a reasonable excuse for the late filing of self assessment tax returns. However, taxpayers must submit the return as soon as possible and explain how they were affected by COVID-19 in the grounds for appeal. HMRC has also enhanced 'Time to Pay' arrangements so that taxpayers who have filed a self assessment return will be able to make payments over an extended period. The automated self-serve Time to Pay online service has been changed to enable self assessment liabilities of up to £30,000 to be paid in up to 12 instalments. A spokesperson for HMRC 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.'