Tax return deadline extension a help, but Scots firms face huge tax demand due to Covid - ACCA

HMRC’s one-month postponement of the Self Assessment deadline is a “welcome reprieve”, given current widespread staffing absences due to Covid, according to an accountancy body, which also warns that a huge tax demand will hit Scottish businesses.

Susan Love, head of strategic engagement at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Scotland, said this New Year is “critical” for many smaller firms and individual taxpayers, amid Covid-related woes.

Therefore, having until the end of February to get organised and file their returns for 2020/21 “is much needed at such an exceptional and turbulent time” – while it will also help HMRC manage its workload.

ACCA Scotland however also noted that interest will be payable from 1 February, as usual, “so businesses are reminded it is still better to pay by 31 January if possible” – and Scottish businesses will still face a huge tax demand due to the financial pressures of the ongoing pandemic.

ACCA Scotland is also reminding business-owners to be prudent, with nearly 800,000 tax scams reported in the last year. Picture: Leon Neal/AFP via Getty Images.

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It added that while Bounce Back Loans or funds from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme do not need to be reported, many firms in Scotland will have received a Covid-related grant from an agency or local council, which will need to be included.

Ms Love said: “In Scotland, since the start of the pandemic in spring 2020, £4.5 billion in business support has been spent supporting firms, with many small businesses likely to have received some form of grant payment which will need to be included in returns.

"Small businesses should also be on their guard for scammers who seek to take advantage of them. If in doubt, accountants can offer trusted advice to manage the Self Assessment process.”

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