Record breaking 10.4 million customers filed Self-Assessment tax returns online

04 February 2020

HMRC has confirmed that a record 10.4 million customers filed their 2018-2019 Self-Assessment tax return online in time for the 31 January 2020 deadline.

It was estimated that approximately 11.7 million customers were due to file their 2018 to 2019 tax returns by 31 January 2020 and 11.1 million taxpayers did so, either online or by submitting the paper forms, with over 700,000 individuals submitting their return on deadline day. The peak hour on that date was between 4 pm and 4:59 pm when a staggering 56,969 filed their tax returns online. There were also customers who left the task to the very last minute, with 26,562 individuals completing their returns between 11 pm and 11:59 pm on Friday 31 January 2020.

Conversely, the figures also highlight that 0.6 million individuals failed to file their tax returns in line with the deadline. There are penalties associated with late tax returns and they increase with time.

  • There is an initial £100 fixed penalty which is issued even if no tax liability is due, and regardless of the tax due being paid on time – the penalty is applied due to the fact that the tax return was submitted late
  • After a period of three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day can be charged, up to a maximum of £900
  • After a six-month period, a further penalty of whichever is greater of 5%of the tax due or £300 can be applied
  • After 12 months, a further 5% or £300 charge can be added – again, whichever figure is greater can be applied
  • 5% of the tax unpaid can also be charged on top of all of this at the 30-day mark, after six months and after 12 months

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said:

“It’s great to see that the majority of customers have submitted and paid their tax returns before 31 January.

 While few people enjoy the process it’s good to get it out the way and know you have contributed towards our vital public services. I’d like to thank everyone who filed and paid on time, but anyone yet to file or pay should contact HMRC straight away because we are here to help.”

 Any individuals who have missed the deadline should liaise with HMRC, who will take a lenient approach in circumstances where there is a genuine excuse for late submissions. The penalties are aimed at repeat offenders who continuously fail to complete their tax returns and those individuals who deliberately try to avoid paying tax.

A breakdown of the figures is laid out below:

  • 11.7 million Self Assessment returns due
  • 11,122,967 returns received by 31 January. This includes expected returns, unsolicited returns and late registrations
  • 10,760,043 expected returns received by 31 January (91.82% of returns expected)
  • 362,924 unsolicited returns/late registrations (3.26%)
  • 958,296 taxpayers missed the deadline (8.18%)
  • 702,171 taxpayers filed their returns on 31 January, peak filing hour was 4 pm to 4:59 pm (56,969 returns received)
  • 10,450,542 returns were filed online (93.95% of total filed)


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