Following on from our last article looking at the top self-assessment penalty excuses, it seems many people may be in need of some quality cover stories for their late submissions.
A staggering 1 in 13 taxpayers failed to file their self-assessment returns by the end of January this year resulting in late tax return fines totalling £87m for HMRC. A record 10.4 million people signed off on their 2014-15 tax affairs by midnight on 31st January. However an estimated 870,000 taxpayers incurred automatic fines of £100 for missing the January deadline. These figures make up part of a range of data released by HMRC which paint a revealing picture of the trends in self-assessment tax return submission.
It seems that the trend towards online return submission shows no signs of slowing down. This year 89% of self-assessment return submissions were made online up from 85% the previous year. There is still scope for growth in this but there will always be a small taxpayer minority who have not adopted digital technologies. This means that online filing in over 95% of total submissions is unlikely according to HMRC. In many cases those that are slow to adopt online channels for submission may be elderly or vulnerable which means transitional support will be essential.
HMRC’s new range of online tools has grown significantly in popularity as they strive to streamline and simplify the self-assessment process and ultimately increase online use. More than 325,000 people used the new live webchat facility in the last two weeks of January alone for example.