Press release

Record breaking 10.4 million customers filed online

The total number of customers who submitted their Self Assessment tax return by the 31 January deadline - 11.1 million - was also a record.

Image of duck with caption: 'Tax.x - thank you to everyone who did their Self Assessment by the deadline

A record breaking 11.1 million taxpayers made their contribution to the UK’s public services by hitting the 31 January deadline.

The number filing online soared to more than 10.4 million for the first time ever.

About 11.7 million customers were required to file their 2018 to 2019 tax returns by 11.59pm on 31 January. More than 700,000 submitted their tax returns on deadline day, the peak hour for filing was between 4pm to 4:59pm when 56,969 filed.

Thousands of customers filed their tax returns at the last minute, with 26,562 completing their returns from 11pm to 11:59pm on Friday 31 January 2020.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, 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.

Customers who have 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.

Further information

Self Assessment 2020 facts summary:

  • 11.7 million Self Assessment returns due
  • 11,122,967 returns received by 31 January. This includes expected returns, unsolicited returns and late registrations
  • 10,760,043 expected returns received by 31 January (91.82% of returns expected)
  • 362,924 unsolicited returns/late registrations (3.26%)
  • 958,296 taxpayers missed the deadline (8.18%)
  • 702,171 taxpayers filed their returns on 31 January, peak filing hour was 4pm to 4:59pm (56,969 returns received)
  • 10,450,542 returns were filed online (93.95% of total filed)
  • HMRC has changed the methodology of presenting Self Assessment data that aligns with legislative changes (12 February 2019) which clarify treatment of voluntary (Unsolicited) Self Assessment Returns.

Comparisons to last year are presented using the new methodology.

Self Assessment 2019 summary:

  • 11.56 million Self Assessment returns due
  • 10,833,177 returns received by 31 January. This includes expected returns, unsolicited returns and late registrations
  • 10,468,177 expected returns received by 31 January (90.52% of returns expected)
  • 365,000 unsolicited returns/late registrations (3.36%)
  • 1,096,186 taxpayers missed the deadline (9.48%)

Penalties for tax returns

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 may be charged, up to a maximum of £900
  • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • 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

Self Assessment guidance is available at -


Tax is automatically deducted from the majority of UK taxpayers’ wages, pensions or savings. For people or businesses where tax is not automatically deducted, or when they may have earned additional untaxed income, they are required to complete a Self Assessment tax return each year.

Be aware of copycat websites and phishing scams – always type in the full online address to obtain the correct link to file your Self Assessment return online securely and free of charge.

HMRC uses your home address to determine whether you should be paying UK or Welsh/Scottish Rate of Income Tax, make sure yours is up to date by accessing your Personal Tax Account or

Customers can also register for HMRC’s help and support email service at or by going to GOV.UK and searching ‘HMRC videos, webinars and email alerts’.

Published 3 February 2020