HMRC has reported a significant increase in the number of online tax returns filed over a three day Christmas period. According to them they received a total of 23,059 online returns this year which is 12% higher in comparison to last year’s total of 20,563.
Christmas Eve saw 17,000 people collating their financial information and sending in a tax return which is a massive 19% increase on the 14,330 returns received on December 24, 2012.
HMRC confirmed that a total of 1,566 people found time on Christmas Day to submit their online tax return which is 1% up from the 1,548 people who filed online on December 25 last year. Surprisingly, the busiest filing hour on Christmas Day was from 12 noon to 1 PM with 144 people hitting the send button on their completed return.
Unlike the other days, Boxing Day saw a decline in the number of year-on-year tax return submissions - only 4,493 people sent in their tax return against 4,685 in 2012.
Close to 10.9 million people are expected to fill out a Self Assessment return for the 2012/13 tax year. The deadline for submission and paying any tax due is 31st January 2013. Late returns, even by a day, incur an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay or you have already paid any tax due. After this point, you pay £10 per day from 3 months onwards (up to a maximum of £900), then a fixed penalty of £300 (or 5% of the overdue tax) in addition to the earlier charges. At 12 months, a further £300/5% charge will be made, on top of all other charges mentioned previously. In some cases the penalties can be even higher.
If you are not one of the 23,059 people that filed their tax return over the three-day festive period, you have only 28 days until you submit your self-assessment tax return and 6 days to provide your details to HMRC. And if you are new to this, then you’ll need to register quickly because to setup an online account HMRC will need to post you an activation PIN code which usually takes close to 7 working days to arrive.
For general help and advice on completing a return, visit www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa or call the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays). But if you don’t want to go at it alone, please get in touch with a professional accountant.