Record number of taxpayers file returns online

Record number of taxpayers file returns online

HMRC statistics show that some 89% of self assessment taxpayers who filed their 2015 tax return by the 31 January deadline did so online – a new record number, as paper filing continues to decline in popularity.

Around 9.24 million self assessment tax returns were completed via the HMRC website, while 1.14 million were filed on paper for the earlier deadline of 31 October 2015.

The busiest period for online filing was between 2pm and 3pm on Friday 29 January, when 50,358 people submitted their forms online.

Ruth Owen, director general for personal tax at HMRC, claimed that the online filing process has been made simpler for self assessment taxpayers, saying: ‘Each year, we are dedicated to making the self-assessment process easier and more intuitive’.

The figures from HMRC also show that approximately 870,000 expected returns were not filed in time for the deadline, leaving taxpayers facing potential fines.

Penalties for late filing start at £10 even if there is no tax to pay, then rise to an additional £10 a day after three months, before increasing again if returns are more than six and 12 months late.

Earlier in the year HMRC said that businesses and individuals required to complete a tax return by 31 January could be given an extended deadline if they were affected by the flooding in December. With vital paperwork related to tax returns likely to have been lost or damaged, HMRC said that those who miss the deadline because of the floods will have the opportunity to appeal.

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