Tax returns prove too much for 746,000 self-assessors

Whether they are early or last-minute, warnings to freelancers to get their tax return in before HMRC’s deadline still aren’t getting through to all.

In fact, some 746,000 self-assessors failed to file before midnight on January 31st 2017, meaning about one in 15 taxpayers still has their return outstanding.

For their lateness, these taxpayers – about eight per cent of the total self-assessment population – face the prospect of a £100 automatic penalty.

The Revenue reminded these tardy taxpayers of this last week, despite hopes from some commentators that the fine for being late was now in doubt following a court case.

“We really don’t want penalties, we just want tax returns,” said HMRC’s director-general of customer services Angela MacDonald.

She added: “If you’re one of the small number that missed the deadline, please submit your return now to avoid further penalties.”

According to the tax office, 758,707 people completed their return on the very last day before the deadline and of these, some 30,000 risked doing it between 11pm and 11.59pm.

But the most popular hour for customers to hit ‘submit’ was from 4pm to 5pm on January 31st, with 60,596 returns received then -- 1,010 per minute, the equivalent of 17 per second.

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