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February 1, 2013

HMRC hails record number of online tax returns

And a record number make the deadline, too

By Jason Stamper

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has said that of the 9.61 million on-time tax returns, 7.93 million (82.5%) were sent online – a record number.

The department also said a record 9.61 million people filed their tax returns on time this year either online or via the post. It said that 7% of those in self-assessment missed the deadlines – 31 October for paper and 31 January for online. Those sending them in late have already incurred a £100 late-filing penalty, and the fines rack up considerably once three months late.

The busiest day for online returns was 31 January, when HMRC received 578,000 who had taken it ‘down to the wire’. Just to confirm we are a nation of procrastinators, the busiest hour was between 4pm and 5pm, when 46,000 returns – more than 12 per second – were received by HMRC.

Somewhat depressingly, HMRC said 1,548 people sent their tax returns in on Christmas Day, and another 4,685 on Boxing Day. New Year’s Eve saw 27,161 people celebrate by sending their tax return over the internet, while another 12,077 sent them on New Year’s Day.

The penalties for filing late include an initial £100 fixed penalty, then after three months an additional £10 per day up to a maximum of £900. After six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater, is levied; and after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater, is fined. There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at: 30 days; six months; and 12 months.



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