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Record numbers file self assessment tax returns on time


Published: 06 Feb 2023 Update History

According to HMRC figures, more than 11.7m taxpayers filed their tax returns before the 31 January 2023 deadline. However, 600,000 taxpayers still missed the deadline.

HMRC was expecting around 12.1m tax returns to be filed for the 2021/22 tax year. Of these expected returns, 11.4m were submitted on time, along with 0.3m unsolicited returns and late registrations. At midnight on 31 January, 600,000 expected tax returns were still outstanding. 

Some 800,000 taxpayers filed on the day of the deadline, with around 36,000 of these filing within the last hour. 

This marks a significant improvement on last year, when more than 2m taxpayers missed the 31 January 2022 filing deadline. HMRC allowed a filing extension until 28 February 2022 without incurring a late filing penalty, to account for the impact of COVID-19.

Ignoring the two years affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, 94.5% of expected returns filed on time this year shows a steady improvement from the 92% filed on time in 2020. Similar to previous years, 96% of tax returns were submitted online. 

Taxpayers who have not settled their unpaid tax by 31 January 2023 have started to accrue late payment interest. Taxpayers who have difficulty paying the tax due may be able to arrange a payment plan online. Individuals who want to make regular monthly or weekly payments towards their tax bills are also able to set up a budget payment plan with HMRC online. Late payment interest will continue to apply to the balance that remains outstanding.

The next penalty deadline is 2 March 2023, when a 5% tax-geared penalty may apply on unpaid tax (but not payments on account). However, this penalty will not apply if a payment arrangement has been agreed with HMRC. 

For returns that remain unsubmitted, daily penalties will kick in if a return has not been filed online by 1 May 2023.

Find more deadlines and dates on ICAEW’s TAXline hub.

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