HMRC’s statistics for the latest tax return filing season

HM Revenue & Customs have announced the statistics for the latest tax return filing season.  According to HMRC, a record 9.61 million people found “inner peace” and sent their tax return for the year ended 5 April 2012 on time.  With 10.34 million people in Self Assessment in 2011-12, this means that around 730,000 were late, generating a staggering 73 million pounds in late payment penalties.  Of the 9.61 million tax returns sent in on time, 7.93 million were sent online (a record number) and 1.68 million were sent on paper.

The busiest day for online returns was 31 January, when HMRC received 578,000.  The busiest hour occurred between 4pm and 5pm on 31 January, when 46,000 returns were received.  That’s over 12 returns per second and HMRC must be pleased that their IT systems held up in the rush.

HMRC also revealed that the holiday period did not halt the flow of returns, with 1,548 people sending their tax return online on Christmas Day, and another 4,685 on Boxing Day.  New Year’s Eve saw 27,161 people sending their returns in, while another 12,077 did so on New Year’s Day.

Incidentally, more than 300,000 people contacted HMRC under a new initiative to say they didn’t need to be in Self Assessment for 2011-12 and had their returns cancelled.  HMRC’s own figures suggest that they will be replaced by the more than 500,000 expected to be within Self Assessment for 2012-13 as a result of the changes to the taxation of Child Benefit reported in earlier blogs.  How many of HMRC’s new “customers” will be swelling the 73 million pounds in late payment penalties remains to be seen!

Carl Barwick – Tax Manager

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