Some 10.7m Britons submitted their self-assessment tax returns before this year’s 31 January deadline, HMRC has announced.
The figure marks a new UK record for the number of tax returns completed on-time. Of all the self-assessment returns that were due, 93.5 per cent were returned to HMRC before midnight on 31 January.
HMRC’s online service proved more popular with taxpayers than ever before this year. Some 9.9m people used the department’s online portal, meaning that 92.5 per cent of all tax returns were completed online.
There were 758,707 individuals who submitted their tax returns on the final day before the deadline. The most popular hour for customers to submit their return online on 31 January was from 4pm to 5pm, when HMRC received 60,596 completed forms. That hour saw 1,010 tax returns submitted per minute, or 17 per second.
According to HMRC’s analysis, some 30,348 people avoided fines at the last minute by submitting their tax returns between 11pm and 11.59pm on the day.
Thanking those taxpayers who met this year’s self-assessment deadline, HMRC’s director general for customer services, Angela MacDonald, said: “It’s really fantastic to see that each year, more and more self-assessment customers are getting ahead of the game and submitting their tax return before the 31 January deadline.
“But we’re not complacent, we want the number missing the deadline to be zero. We’ll continue to adapt the process to make it easier and simpler for all our customers until every return is in on time and without avoidable errors.”
MacDonald urged anyone who missed the self-assessment deadline to submit their tax returns as soon as possible to avoid further penalties.
After an initial fixed penalty of £100 for a late submission, after three months additional penalties of £10 per day are incurred, up to a maximum of £900.
If after six months an individual’s tax return still hasn’t been submitted, HMRC charge a further penalty of five per cent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater.
There are also penalties for paying late, of five per cent of tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and one year after the date of the deadline.
MacDonald added: “If you’re one of the small number that missed the deadline, please submit your return now. We really don’t want penalties, we just want tax returns.”
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