personal finance

Martin Lewis offers Britons stark warning if Self Assessment deadline missed – ‘pay now!’

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, is well-known for providing support to Britons with their finances, and his appearance tonight on ITV was no different. Martin tonight, amongst a host of other topics, addressed the recently passed Self Assessment deadline on January 31, 2021. It was the responsibility of Britons to meet the deadline if they were eligible to pay, as this is how Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) collects Income Tax.

Usually, a failure to meet the deadline would mean suffering immediate penalties, however, there has been a reprieve.

HMRC told Britons shortly before the deadline that they would not face late filing penalties as long as they filed promptly, by February 28, 2021.

While this news was likely to relieve many Britons who were struggling with the deadline, this is not the end of the road.

A tax bill must still be met, and Martin offered a stark warning to individuals concerned on the matter.

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“If you haven’t paid it by March 3, it’s five percent as a fee on top of that interest you’ll be fined! 

“Just pay them sooner or it is really going to cost you a lot.”

As a result, Martin urged those who have not yet paid their Self Assessment tax bill to act fast.

He said even if a person has not yet filed their relevant Self Assessment documents, they should simply estimate what they owe.

Dealing with a tax bill sooner rather than later is likely to mean Britons will eliminate some of the nasty penalties which can be associated with a late bill. 

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HMRC has estimated approximately 1.8million taxpayers missed the January 31 deadline, according to its latest figures.

While Britons will get off on the £100 late filing fee if the matter is sorted by February 28, the interest Martin explained is likely to be a strong dissuading force to waiting until later. 

For those who have a rough estimate of how much they owe, HMRC has also developed a tool which is likely to provide assistance on the matter.

The HMRC ready reckoner tool is targeted towards the self-employed to help individuals calculate how much they could potentially owe. 

In addition, Britons could also use the ‘Estimate your Income Tax for a previous tax year tool’ which provides more details on Income Tax payments. 

People will need details of their earnings before and after tax, as well as information on any savings they have, and Gift Aid donations made to charity. 

Announcing the change to HMRC’s policy, recently, was Chief Executive of the Revenue, Jim Harra.

Mr Harra said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to file their return on time, so we can calculate their tax bill and help them if they can’t pay it straight away.

“But we recognise the immense pressure that many people are facing in these unprecedented times and it has become increasingly clear that some people will not be able to file their return by January 31.

“Not charging late filing penalties for late online tax returns submitted in February will give them the breathing space they need to complete and file their returns, without worrying about receiving a penalty.

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“We can reasonably assume most of these people will have a valid reason for filing late, caused by the pandemic.”

Martin Lewis is the Founder and Chair of To join the 13 million people who get his free Money Tips weekly email, go to


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