Press release

Over 93% of taxpayers file tax returns by the deadline

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reveals how many taxpayers completed their Self Assessment tax return by 31 January deadline.

Two ducks with a red background quacking "tax"

A total of 93.68% of Self Assessment tax returns – a new record – were completed by yesterday’s midnight deadline, HMRC reveals today.

More than 11.5 million taxpayers were required to file their 2017/18 tax returns by 11.59pm on 31 January. The majority filed on time, but 700,000 customers missed the deadline.

More than 700,000 returns were submitted on deadline day, with the peak hour for filing between 4pm and 5pm when 60,000 filed. The number of taxpayers who filed online reached more than 10 million for the first time.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

It is great to see so many people completing their Self Assessment by the deadline. Their income tax contributions have helped towards funding the UK’s vital public services including hospitals, schools and the emergency services.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said:

Thank you to everyone who filed on time. This year, we had a record numbers of filers completing their tax returns by the deadline. And for any customers who are yet to file their returns, please contact HMRC – we are here to help.

Any taxpayer who has missed the deadline should contact HMRC. The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders. The excuse must be genuine and HMRC may ask for evidence.

Last month, HMRC revealed the top five weird excuses and outlandish expenses, all of which were rejected. These taxpayers were required to pay a £100 penalty in addition to any tax owed.

weird excuses

outlandish expense

Further Information

Self Assessment facts summary (all figures refer to 31 January 2019 deadline):

  • 11,564,363 total SA returns due
  • 10,833,177 returns received (93.68%)
  • 731,186 taxpayers missed the deadline
  • 735,258 taxpayers filed their returns on 31 January, peak filing hour was 4-5pm (60,000 returns received)
  • 10,129,234 returns were filed online (93.5% of total filed)

The penalties for late tax returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time;
  • after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900;
  • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.
  • There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.

Help is available on GOV.UK, from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 and on social media.

Published 1 February 2019