HM Revenue and Customs has revealed that 10.39 million Self Assessment tax returns were completed ahead of the 31 January deadline; that’s more than 92% of the total returns expected, and 150,000 more than last year.
More than 89% of customers (9.24 million) opted to use HMRC’s online Self Assessment service to calculate and pay the tax they owe, continuing the growing trend to deal with the tax authority electronically.
This year the deadline fell on a Sunday, but that didn’t mean that customers stopped for a day of rest – more than 385,000 completed their return online yesterday, beating the midnight cut off.
29 January was the busiest day with 513,271 returns completed – that’s more than 21,386 returns received per hour. The busiest time was between 14:00 and 15:00, with 50,358 customers – 14 per second – clicking submit.
Ruth Owen, Director General for Personal Tax said:
We all know it’s easy to put off completing your Self Assessment tax return, which is why it’s fantastic to see more customers than ever before completing theirs on time this year.
Each year we’re dedicated to making the Self Assessment process easier and more intuitive. Our biggest innovation this year was the launch of the online Personal Tax Account, with more than 825,000 customers accessing it as they completed their tax returns. Our new online tools proved just as popular with more than 328,967 customers taking part in webchats in the last 2 weeks of January, ensuring they were able to submit before the 31 January deadline.
It’s not only the online Self Assessment service which has seen some changes. Using new technology, HMRC has successfully checked 3.4 million returns and intercepted more than 17,000 fraudulent or incorrect repayment claims, worth more than £96 million.
The technology prevents criminal attacks and ensures that customers with legitimate claims are protected.
Jennie Granger, Director General for Enforcement and Compliance said:
Our success in using cutting-edge technology to sift and sort through millions of pieces of data is stopping fraudulent repayments in their tracks.
Our highly skilled tax specialists are experts at reacting quickly to identify suspicious activity, protecting tax revenues that fund essential public services.
For anyone who still has not filed their return, help and advice is available onGOV.UK or from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday).