HM Revenue & Customs  

HMRC extends appeals deadline amid Covid-19

HMRC extends appeals deadline amid Covid-19

The taxman has extended the timeframe in which a consumer or business can appeal against a tax decision for those affected by the coronavirus.

HMRC will give those impacted an extra three months to appeal any decision dated February 2020 or later, compared to the usual 30 days given to respond.

Guidance published by HMRC said consumers and businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis should send their appeal as soon as they can and, if needed, explain the delay in returning the appeal form was due to coronavirus.

Other guidance updates showed HMRC will now consider coronavirus as a “reasonable excuse” for missing some tax obligations, such as payments or filing dates.

It is also in line with Companies House, which extended filing deadlines by two months automatically due to the impact of Covid-19 and suspended strike offs.

Dawn Register, partner in tax dispute resolution at BDO, said: “This extension is welcome news as any clarification about how HMRC is going to help those impacted by Covid-19 is helpful to remove uncertainty and distress.

“HMRC is looking to help people most acutely affected by Covid-19, for example those bereaved, but also taxpayers impacted by the challenges the lockdown presents.”

Ms Register added it was a “fast-moving situation” so it was expected HMRC would keep its guidance under close review.

HMRC has already suspended enquiries into taxpayers and businesses under investigation as a result of capacity limits in the department.

At the start of April, it wrote to consumers and companies involved in enquiries explaining that during the lockdown it will not request information or press for responses and some enquiries will be suspended completely due to coronavirus constraints.

The taxman has been tasked with setting up and running the government’s coronavirus furlough schemes. 

HMRC’s chief executive Jim Harra has previously said it was using every resource available to get the scheme up and running as quickly as possible so businesses and self-employed workers receive their payments in a timely manner.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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