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The deferral for self-assessment income tax applies to the second payment on account for 2019/20 due on 31 July 2020 which is deferred until 31 January 2021.

Eligibility for the deferral is limited to the self-employed and does not apply to those that are in self assessment but are not self-employed. The Tax Faculty has sought clarification from HMRC, but the current understanding is that the deferral applies to any taxpayer who was self-employed in the 2018/19 tax year on which the payment on account is based. 

This is an automatic offer and no application is required. Any taxpayer that qualifies for the deferral and has already set up a direct debit mandate for the payment on account due on 31 July 2020 should consider cancelling it.

Self assessment returns should still be filed by their due date and it may be advantageous to file the 2019/20 return as soon as possible after 5 April 2020. This might facilitate planning for the tax payment due in January 2021 and perhaps crystallise any refund due, including as a result of any loss relief available.

No penalties or interest for late payment will be charged in the deferral period.