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The number of taxpayers who missed the self assessment deadline rose to 958,296 this year, according to data published by HMRC.
However, a record-breaking 11.1 million taxpayers did meet the 31 January deadline, with the number filing online soaring to over 10.4 million for the first time.
Almost 11.7 million customers were required to file their 2018/19 tax returns by the end of January.
More than 700,000 submitted their tax returns on deadline day. The peak hour for filing was between 4pm and 4:59pm, when 56,969 people filed a return, while another 26,562 taxpayers completed their returns in the final hour.
Anyone who misses the deadline will be charged a penalty unless they can provide a genuine excuse, supported by evidence. HMRC has the right to reject unreasonable excuses and penalties can quickly mount up.
There is an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time.
Penalties escalate the later the return is. After three months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day may be charged, up to a maximum of £900; after six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater; and for those failing to make a return after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater. There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months.
Commenting on the numbers, Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, said: ‘I’d like to thank everyone who filed and paid on time, but anyone yet to file or pay should contact HMRC straight away because we are here to help.
‘Customers who have missed the deadline should contact HMRC. The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders. The excuse must be genuine and HMRC may ask for evidence.’
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