PMA Business Services Ltd

On-time Self Assessment returns break the record again

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has once again surpassed its record of completed tax returns with a huge 10.7 million customers submitting theirs before the 31 January 2018 deadline.

Proving increasingly popular with its handy tips and helpful advice, the department’s online service was used by 9.9 million customers – meaning more than 92.5% of total returns were completed online.

There were 758,707 people who completed their return on the last day before the deadline and the most popular hour for customers to hit submit was from 4pm to 5pm on 31 January with 60,596 returns received (1,010 per minute, 17 per second).

Thousands of customers avoided any penalties at the last minute as 30,348 customers completed their returns from 11pm to 11:59pm yesterday.

HMRC handled 195,260 calls over the course of the day but waiting times were kept at just 3 minutes and 6 seconds, meaning that hundreds of thousands of customers got the extra support they needed to meet the deadline.

Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services, thanked customers for meeting the deadline and said:

It’s really fantastic to see that each year, more and more Self Assessment customers are getting ahead of the game and submitting their tax return before the 31 January deadline. But we’re not complacent, we want the number missing the deadline to be zero, and we’ll continue to adapt the process to make it easier and simpler for all our customers until every return is in on time and without avoidable errors.

If you’re one of the small number that missed the deadline, please submit your return now to avoid further penalties. We really don’t want penalties, we just want tax returns.

For anyone who still has not submitted their return, help and advice is available on GOV.UK or from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday).


Self Assessment summary:

  • 11,433,349 Self Assessment returns were due
  • 10,687,761 returns were received by midnight on 31 January (93.5% of total issued)
  • Around 745,588 Self Assessment returns are still outstanding
  • 9,916,430 returns were filed online (92.8%)
  • 771,331 returns were filed on paper (7.22%)
  • more than 4,852,744 returns were received online in January 2018 (44.8% of total received)
  • 1,290,948 returns were received on 30 and 31 January (26.6 % of total returns received in January)
  • busiest hour: 4pm to 5pm on 31 January – 60,596 returns received (1,010 per minute; 17 per second)
  • 389,849 payments transactions were handled on 31 January


The penalties for late tax returns are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • 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, 6 months and 12 months.