Features, Accountancy

Key dates for Accountants in 2021

Modulr By Modulr on 13 January 2021   •   8 mins read
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Key dates for Accountants in 2021

Alongside ongoing annual deadlines related to self-assessment, running payroll and general company administration, 2021 also presents a unique set of time-sensitive tasks associated with Brexit and coronavirus.

Accountants must manage and plan for these deadlines accordingly, to ensure clients stay compliant and avoid unnecessary fines. Additionally, raising awareness of deadlines to clients will assure them that you have their best interests at heart, as well as being able to manage their expectations with regards to the data that’s required to complete the necessary filings.

With coronavirus, Brexit and IR35 deadlines compounding an already full calendar, 2021 is shaping up to be a busy year. Now, more than ever, accountants need to stay up to date and embrace efficient working practices so that they can serve their clients with timely and strategic advice.

2021 is not the year to be held back by slow systems and manual processes.

By incorporating brand new digital technologies, accountants will benefit from the efficiency gains of innovation and automation which, in turn, will afford them additional bandwidth to manage the raft of deadlines and added complexities that this year will undoubtedly bring. 

Helping clients succeed means being the first to find new paths. The Pathfinders programme is the first network of its kind in the industry, developing new innovations for accountants to deliver better services for their clients. Join the Accountancy Pathfinders Programme for more helpful industry content like this straight to your inbox and be in with a chance of beta testing new accounting technology ahead of the market.

This blog should be read as a guide to key dates in 2021 and not a comprehensive calendar for all deadlines. While the article will be updated periodically, dates may change. 

*Update - this article now reflects key dates outlined by the budget on 3 March.



29 January - Self employment income support scheme

Applications for the self-employment income support scheme, for sole traders or members of a partnership impacted by coronavirus, ends on 29 January.
The application deadline covers the third grant period, for those whose profits have adversely been affected by the pandemic, between 1 November 2020-29 January 2021.
31 January - Self-assessment (2019/20) online filing deadline.
January is traditionally the busiest time of the year for accountants due to needing to manage the final deadline of self-assessment tax returns filed electronically, by the 31st of the month.


In addition to the four previously announced SEISS grants (worth 80% of three months average trading profits and capped at £7,500), there will now be a fifth to cover the period from May until July. The grants were previously only open to those who had submitted tax returns in 2018-19, but the last two payments will now also apply to people who have filed 2019-20 tax returns. 


31 January - First payment on account for self-assessment

As well as filing tax returns by the 31st of January, the same calendar day will also require self-employed individuals to pay their first payments on account to HMRC, based on their predicted profits for the 2020/21 tax year.
Accountants should seek to complete 2019/20 tax returns a few days in advance of the 31 January deadline to allow clients sufficient time to pay their first payment on account for the following tax year in time, alongside where relevant a balancing payment from the prior one.

Income tax thresholds frozen

While income tax bands will increase in line with CPI in 2021-22, they will be frozen for four years from April 2022.

In the forthcoming tax year, the basic rate (20%) will increase from £12,500 to £12,570, with the higher rate (40%) rising from £50,000 to £50,270. It is expected that this stealth tax will raise an extra £6bn a year.

Accountants will need to update client payrolls as well as reconsidering remuneration strategies for director clients who are paid by salary or combination of salary and dividend.



3 March - The Budget

After the autumn Budget in 2020 was shelved, it was announced late last year that a spring Budget would take place on 3 March 2021.
The exact contents of the Budget are not yet known, but the Chancellor has said it will “set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs.”
It has also been speculated that there may be changes to pension tax relief and capital gains tax.

31 March - Mortgage holidays

The application deadline for mortgage holidays, for individuals affected by coronavirus, ends on 31 March. Up to six months of payment holidays can be claimed for in full, with lenders agreeing payment holidays of up to three months at once.
The qualifying period over which mortgage holidays can be claimed for lies between 31 March 2021 and 31 July 2021.

31 March - Bounce back loans and CBILS

The two flagship Government business support schemes for the pandemic are due to end on 31 March 2021, with the original deadlines extended twice.

Bounce back loans, suitable for SMEs allow companies to apply for up to £50,000 of business finance, while with CBILS, larger businesses can access up to £250,000.

31 March - VAT deferrals due to coronavirus

On 31 March 2021 VAT deferral payments (related to the periods between 20 March and 30 June 2020) related to coronavirus become due.

Funds can be paid in full on this date or businesses can sign up to a service which allows them to make 11 smaller monthly payment instalments, with related liabilities being cleared by the end of March 2022.


6 April - New tax year

The new tax year (2021-22) will require accountants to make sure they are up to date with any planned changes to taxes such as income tax (threshold bandings, personal allowance etc.), national insurance, capital gains and corporation tax.
Many changes will likely be announced during the spring Budget, but in November the government’s spending review indicated income tax allowances and national insurance spend limits would increase in line with September’s Consumer Price Index (CPI figure).

6 April - IR35 in the private sector

After being put back for one year, IR35 in the private sector will finally come into being from 6 April 2021.

 This will require accountants to ensure clients (referred by HMRC as "intermediaries") make sure they are engaging with workers appropriately.
If workers are engaged as contractors but are found to be falling foul of “disguised employment”, it is the responsibility of the intermediary to pay outstanding taxes and deal with associated administration.
Accountants should help their clients prepare before the 6th of April to review whether existing contractors will need to have their status changed to that of employees, alongside an estimate of additional payroll taxes, benefits and pension costs.
An indispensable 3-step guide to helping accountants get IR-35 ready and reduce payroll inefficiencies is available.

19 April - Year-end payroll

19 April is the 2020/21 deadline for providing the final Full Payment Submission (FPS) of the year tax to HMRC.
Most payroll software will have the functionality to notify HMRC of this when the monthly March payroll cycle is completed.

30 April - Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough) ends

After numerous extensions, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (commonly referred to as furlough) ends on 30 April 2021.
The government will continue to contribute 80% of employee wages throughout its use. Accountants should communicate the extended deadline to their clients ahead of time to protect as many jobs as possible.

Furlough extension

The furlough scheme is being extended past April and is now open until the end of September. The government will continue to pay employees 80% of their wages, up to £2,500. However, employers must pay 10% of wages in July and 20% in August and September. 

Accountants should inform their clients of these changes to save employees who may be at risk of redundancy and update clients on associated changes.


31 May - P60s

Companies must issue all of their employees with a P60, detailing how much they have earned over the last tax year alongside PAYE and national insurance paid by 31 May.


30 June - EU Settlement scheme

In light of Brexit, accountants should inform their clients to communicate to their UK based EU employees the necessity to confirm their legal status by applying to the EU settlement scheme before its 30 June deadline.


6 July - P11Ds

P11D forms, summarising a company’s expenses and benefits for employees, alongside Class 1A NICs due, must be filed by 6 July.
Where applicable, individual employees should also be issued with P11D forms if they receive benefits not taxed through the payroll.

31 July - Second payment on account for self-assessment

The second payment on account for self-assessment, for the tax year, 2020-21, is payable on 31 July.


31 October - Self-assessment (2020/21) paper filing deadline

31 October is the deadline for paper filings of 20/21 personal tax returns. 


We'll update in due course when we know what deadlines are likely to land!


We'll update in due course when we know what deadlines are likely to land!

Join the Accountancy Pathfinders Programme

Helping clients succeed means being the first to find new paths. The Pathfinders programme is the first network of its kind in the industry, developing new innovations for accountants to deliver better services for their clients. Apply to join the Accountancy Pathfinders Programme.