Record 6.4m taxpayers submit returns online

A record number of people filed their self-assessment tax return online this year, HM Revenue & Customs said today.

More than 6.4 million people submitted their tax return through the internet by the deadline of midnight on 31 January, accounting for three-quarters of all returns received.

The number of people filing online was 12 per cent higher than the 5.8 million people who did so in 2009, which was itself around 50 per cent up on 2008's figure of 3.8 million people.

Friday January 29 was the busiest day for online filing, with 384,638 returns received during the day, while 4pm to 5pm of that day was the busiest hour, with 39,512 tax returns filed during the period.

Around 730 people logged on to HMRC's website to file their tax return on Christmas Day, while 2,175 did so on Boxing Day, and just under 20,000 people completed their tax return on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury Stephen Timms said: "More people than ever before are now filing their tax returns online.

"It's easier, quicker and HMRC processes your return faster, so any money you're owed is repaid more quickly."

People who have to complete a self-assessment tax return and who fail to do so by the deadline of midnight on 31 January incur a £100 late payment charge.

If the form has still not been submitted by 31 July, they are liable for another £100 penalty.

On top of this, they have to pay interest on any unpaid tax, while persistent offenders could face a penalty of up to £60 a day in certain circumstances.

Every year around 10 per cent of the 9.5 million people who have to fill in a self-assessment tax return miss the deadline.

But not all of these incur the £100 penalty, as people are only fined if they owe tax.