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92% of self-assessment tax returns filed ahead of January deadline

More than 92 per cent of the total self-assessment tax returns anticipated were filed ahead of the 31st January deadline, according to new figures from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

10.39 million tax returns for the 2014-15 financial year were submitted on time; a year-on-year increase of 150,000 submissions.

The growing trend to deal with tax affairs electronically is continuing with 89 per cent of taxpayers (9.24 million) opting to use HMRC’s online Self-Assessment service.

Although record numbers submitted their tax returns ahead of the deadline, many still left it until the very last minute to get their financial affairs up-to-date.

More than 385,000 people filed their returns online on 31st January, beating the midnight cut-off.

The busiest day for tax returns was 29th January, when more than half-a-million (513,271 returns) were submitted online; equating to 21,386 returns an hour.

Ruth Owen, director general for personal tax, HMRC, said: “We all know it’s easy to put off completing your Self-Assessment tax return, which is why it’s fantastic to see more customers than ever before completing theirs on time this year.

“Each year we’re dedicated to making the Self-Assessment process easier and more intuitive. Our biggest innovation this year was the launch of the online Personal Tax Account, with more than 825,000 customers accessing it as they completed their tax returns.

“Our new online tools proved just as popular with more than 364,000 customers interacting with our virtual assistant and taking part in webchats in the last three weeks of January, ensuring they were able to click submit before the 31 January deadline.”

The online Self-Assessment service also adopted new technology which enabled HMRC to successfully check 3.4 million returns submitted; intercepting more than 17,000 fraudulent or incorrect repayment claims, worth an estimated £96 million.

Jennie Granger, director general for enforcement and compliance, HMRC, said: “Our success in using cutting-edge technology to sift and sort through millions of pieces of data is stopping fraudulent repayments in their tracks.

“Our highly skilled tax specialists are experts at reacting quickly to identify suspicious activity, protecting tax revenues that fund essential public services.”

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