Record numbers file online tax returns

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The Independent Online

A record 6.9 million people filed their tax returns online by the January deadline, HM Revenue & Customs said yesterday.

It said 6,907,410 people had submitted an electronic form by midnight yesterday, accounting for 78 per cent of all returns for the 2009-10 tax year. The figure was 7 per cent higher than the previous tax year.

About 572,455 people left it until the last day to submit their form and avoid a £100 fine, making 31 January the busiest day of the year for using the online system. The deadline for paper tax returns was October 31, and people had until midnight yesterday to submit an online form or face being fined. Every year around 10 per cent of people fail to get their form in on time.

Consumers are fined £100 if they have not completed their tax returns by 31 January, and they can incur a further £100 penalty if one has still not been submitted by 31 July.

But not everyone who misses the deadline incurs a financial penalty, as people are fined only if they owe tax.