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1 in 4 people file last minute tax returns

By RJP LLP on 10 February 2020

With the self assessment period behind us, it is interesting to reflect that according to figures released by HMRC, millions of people left filing their tax return to the last minute.

HMRC said they expect 11.7 million tax returns to be submitted every year and at the beginning of 2020 they had five million tax returns still outstanding; just three days before the deadline, there were still three million outstanding.

Many accountants now charge extra to people who are late in providing their information, simply because the influx of information in January can make it necessary to work very long hours. There is of course also an increased risk to everyone of mistakes being made under pressure. But clearly, the fact that so many returns were so last minute illustrates how much of a panic some people must be in as the end of January approaches.

Not everyone falls into this bracket however; according to HMRC they received over 3,000 tax returns on Christmas day!  During the rest of the year, tax returns are filed in dribs and drabs, with an average 545,000 filed each month between April and August. Then from October, numbers pick up gradually before the last-minute rush.

Clearly not everyone makes it in time though; 750,000 people missed the 31 January deadline for filing their tax return making them liable to an immediate £100 fine and netting the Treasury £75,000,000!

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