Record numbers of people submit tax return online

Have you submitted your 2009/10 tax return?

If so, you are likely to have joined a record number who filed their tax return online this year.  HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed that a record 6.9 million people submitted their tax return online before the 31st January deadline – accounting for over three quarters of all returns for the last tax year.

Record numbers of Brits submitting tax returns online

According to the HMRC figures, a staggering 6,907,410 people had submitted an electronic tax return by midnight on the deadline (31st January) accounting for 78 per cent of all returns for the 2009/2010 tax year.  This figure was 7 per cent higher than the previous tax year.

The Daily Telegraph reports that ‘around 572,455 people left it until the last day to submit their form and avoid a £100 fine, making January 31 the busiest day of the year for using the online system.’

Whilst the deadline for paper tax returns is October 31st, taxpayers get an extra three months to file their tax return online.  Despite fines for late submission, around 10 per cent of people fail to get their form in on time.  There is a £100 fine for submission after the deadline, with a further £100 penalty if the return is not received by July 31st.  Interest on unpaid tax may also be payable.

Not all late returns will incur a penalty

If you have missed the tax return deadline, you are advised to send your completed form and any unpaid tax to HMRC as soon as possible.  However, the Daily Telegraph reports that, this year, not everyone who misses the deadline will necessarily incur a financial penalty.

For example, if you owe under £100 in tax and have filed your tax return late, you may avoid the £100 charge.  The Daily Telegraph reports that ‘under HMRC rules a penalty fine can’t be bigger than your outstanding tax bill.  So if your tax bill is just £50, this can be the maximum penalty charged. If you owe no tax at all, perhaps as a result of previous overpayments, then you will still be issued with a ‘penalty notice’ but the fine attached should be reduced to zero.’

Whilst this may help you avoid a fine in 2011, it won’t work next year as the rules are changing.  If you submit your tax return late next year, the £100 penalty will be applied – regardless of the amount of tax that you owe.

1 comment

  1. Mike Keating says:

    How much do they think HMRC made from late penalties in 2009- 2010?

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