Online tax returns up 50%

The number of people filing tax returns online soared by 50% this year to hit a new record, figures showed today.

HM Revenue & Customs said nearly 5.8 million self-assessment taxpayers had submitted their 2007/2008 tax returns over the internet by the deadline of midnight on January 31, up from 3.8 million people last year.

Just over two-thirds of all tax returns were filed online this year, 51% more than during the previous one.

Friday January 30 was the single busiest day for online filing, as 390,000 people submitted their returns ahead of the deadline to avoid facing a £100 penalty charge.

The increased popularity of filing online this year may be due in part to the Revenue bringing forward the deadline for people filing paper returns for the 2007/2008 tax year to October 31.

Around 10% of people typically miss the January 31 deadline each year. Last year the deadline was extended by 24 hours after the Revenue's website crashed at 10.30am on January 31.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms said: "I am delighted that more and more people are recognising the benefits of filing their tax return online.

"Online returns make it easier and quicker to calculate how much tax you owe and you can pay online too."