New Self Assessment taxpayers will no longer need to wait for an activation code to be sent in the post before they can access their personal tax account, it has been revealed.
The change comes two months ahead of the online Self Assessment deadline on 31 January 2021 for the 2019/20 tax year.
Under the usual rules, an activation code is sent in the post which must be used within 28 days or it expires.
However, research shows that overseas taxpayers often receive the code after it has expired, leaving them with no other option than to contact HMRC during the busy festive period.
To avoid disruption this year, the tax office said it is suspending this requirement to simplify the process and reduce contact to HMRC helplines, which have been stretched throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead, new Self Assessment taxpayers will be asked to pass new identity verification checks.
Commenting on this year’s Self Assessment deadline, HMRC’s Interim Director General of Customer Services, Karl Khan, said: “The vast majority of Self Assessment customers complete their tax return by the 31 January deadline, but you don’t need to wait until January; you can send it back now and get it out of the way.
“HMRC is determined to help customers during this difficult time. We know many customers will have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, or will need help to spread the cost of their tax bill. That’s why we’ve made it quick and simple to set up a payment plan to spread the costs and help people get back on their feet. It’s easy to do online and there’s no need to call us to set it up.”
According to HMRC, approximately 11 million customers are set to complete a Self Assessment tax return this year.