Press release

Men come out on the top in the Battle of the Taxes

For the second year running, men were more likely than women to complete their tax return on time, winning the battle again - but only just.

Graphic showing self assessment filing figures

In 2014 to 2015, 235 late tax returns for every 10,000 were submitted by women, but they were beaten by a tiny margin of just three, because for every 10,000 tax returns submitted by men, only 232 were late.

Breaking the figures down further HMRC also found that:

  • those aged over 65 showed the younger generation how it’s done, with only 104 per 10,000 tax returns received late. A huge 833 for every 10,000 sent in by 18-20 year olds was overdue
  • customers living in Northern Ireland were once again the most likely to submit their tax return promptly, with 178 for every 10,000 submitted late, followed by Wales (205 per 10,000). Scotland and England lagged behind, coming joint third with 233 per 10,000 each
  • as a whole, the UK submitted only 230 late returns for every 10,000 in 2014-15
  • when returns were divided into the nine English regions, Londoners failed to redeem themselves from last year and climb off the bottom of the pile - those in the capital completed 310 late for every 10,000. Those in the South West were once again the least likely to miss the 31 January deadline with 184 per 10,000 coming in late
  • the data showed within industry, those working in Agriculture, Fishing and Forestry topped the leaderboard once again with just a tiny 62 in every 10,000 submitting late returns. Second and third places went again to Lawyers and Accountants (106 late returns per 10,000) and Financial, Insurance and Real Estate (156 per 10,000) those working in the Administrative and Support Services remain in bottom place (296 per 10,000), behind Other Industries (260 per 10,000), and Information and Communication was the next worst performing sector (250 per 10,000).

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Service, said:

It’s very encouraging to see that in every aspect of our analysis we saw huge reductions in the number of tax returns being sent in late last year. Our customers are obviously becoming more punctual, but we won’t be happy until we’re at zero.

The deadline is now less than three weeks away, if you still need to complete a return our advice is don’t leave it until it’s too late. Our online service has lots of helpful advice and handy tips to help make submitting your tax return as easy and stress free as possible.

Notes for editors

  • The deadline for Self Assessment returns is 31 January.
  • If you are submitting your 2015-16 Self Assessment return online for the first time, you will need to register for SA Online. Registering for online returns is simple – you can do it online at www.gov.uk/register-for-self-assessment.
  • Help is available at www.gov.uk/self-assessment-tax-returns or from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.
  • These figures are sourced from Self-Assessment management information from the Computerised Environment for Self-Assessment (CESA) at April 2016 for the 2014-15 tax year. Industry categories are based on UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007 (SIC2007). All individual figures have been rounded independently to the nearest thousand or three significant figures.
  • HMRC analysed all 2014-15 tax returns received up to the end of April 2016 (and adjusted the figures to account for returns expected but still not received.)

The full adult age analysis for late returns per 10,000 returns is as follows:

Age range Late returns per 10,000
18-20 833
21-30 492
31-40 334
41-50 247
51-60 181
61-64 127
65+ 104

The full UK and English regional analysis for late returns per 10,000 is as follows:

Country/English region Late returns per 10,000
Scotland 233
England 233
Wales 205
Northern Ireland 178
London 310
North East 267
North West 238
West Midlands 222
Yorkshire and the Humber 217
South East 211
East of England 210
East Midlands 208
South West 184

The full industry analysis for late returns per 10,000 is as follows:

Industry Late returns per 10,000
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing 62
Manufacturing 223
Construction 203
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles 207
Transportation and Storage 236
Accommodation and Food Service Activities 183
Information and Communication 250
Financial, Insurance and Real Estate Activities 156
Activities Legal & Accounting Activities 106
Other Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities 203
Administrative and Support Service Activities 296
Education 224
Human Health and Social Work Activities 188
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 217
Other Industries 260
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Press contact

Patrick O’Brien Tel: 03000 585 024 Email: Patrick.o’brien@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Adrian Hallchurch Tel: 03000 585 020 Email: adrian.hallchurch@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

Published 11 January 2017