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Two new records for self assessment filing in January 2020

13 February 2020: self assessment filing has returned two new records. First, a record-breaking 10.4m customers filed online; and second, the total number of customers who submitted their self assessment tax return by the 31 January deadline was 11.1m, another record.

Anyone who files a self assessment tax return by 23:59 on 31 January heaves a sigh of relief when it has finally gone. It is hard to imagine the millions of other taxpayers – or customers as HMRC calls them – undergoing the same experience. But now we have the statistics from the tax authority that show the sheer numbers that have to file, all doing the same thing as the last day of January comes to a close.

Of the 11.7m customers required to file their 2018/19 tax returns by 23:59 on 31 January, more than 700,000 submitted them on deadline day. Anyone filing between 16:00 and 16:59 was in good company – this is when 56,969 returns were filed.

The truly tardy were represented in high numbers too. A total of 26,562 people completed their returns in the last hour.

For the 958,296 that missed the deadline, the advice from Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, is to contact the Revenue and be assured that HMRC focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders.

The penalties for late tax returns include an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time. After three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day may be charged, up to a maximum of £900. And the penalties continue to roll thereafter.