Record breaking number of self assessment tax returns filed on time

HMRC’s press release of 3rd February starts with, “Thank you to everyone who did their self assessment by the deadline.”

31st January 2020 saw a record breaking 11.1million self assessment tax returns filed by the 11.59pm deadline. Only 8.18% of the total missed it and will get an automatic £100 fine. Possibly followed by cumulative fines, if they don’t rectify the situation quickly.

2018-19 Self assessment tax return in figures

Every year HMRC release statistics surrounding the self assessment process. And we like digging into the specifics of how many people submitted and when. These patterns of behaviour help us plan the support we give our clients. And, rather unsurprisingly, we’re just into the number facts.

Number of people required to file a self assessment tax return for 2018-19 tax year: 11.7million

Deadline: 11.59pm 31st January 2020

Christmas Day 2019: 3,003 self assessment tax returns filed.

Beginning of January: five million returns outstanding.

Week before the deadline: three million outstanding.

31st January: 702,171 filed

31st January, between 4.00 and 4.59pm: 56,969 submitted. This was the peak filing time.

31st January, between 11.00 and 11.59pm: 26,562 filed, right on the wire.

Total number filed on time: 11,122,967.

Total number of taxpayers missed deadline: 958,296, only 8.18% of the total.

Total number of returns filed online: 10,450,542, 93.95% of total filed.

HMRC reaction

HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said: “It’s great to see that the majority of customers have submitted and paid their tax returns before 31 January. While few people enjoy the process it’s good to get it out the way and know you have contributed towards our vital public services. I’d like to thank everyone who filed and paid on time, but anyone yet to file or pay should contact HMRC straight away because we are here to help.”

HMRC express their pleasure with customary reserve, but this year’s figures are something for them to celebrate. In particular, the online submission figures demonstrate the success of their ongoing Making Tax Digital plan.

Did you miss the deadline?

If you’re one of the 1million who missed the deadline, all is not lost, but do not put it off. Yes, you’ve already got a £100 fine. In some cases tax returns can be cancelled and late penalties appealed. But there will be more, cumulative penalties the longer you leave it. HMRC have dedicated people to help you if you get in touch. Just don’t risk wasting any more money on unnecessary fines by waiting any longer.


Tony Shanks
Operations Director
Member of the ATT

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