Thousands take advantage of extended filing deadline

MORE THAN 200,000 people took advantage of HMRC leniency to file their tax returns in the penalty-free first days of February.

With the taxman allowing filings on 1 and 2 February penalty-free, after HMRC staff took part in a strike on the self-assessment deadline of 31 January, 207,000 submitted tax returns online. The taxman received 87,000 tax returns on 1 February, and 120,000 a day later.

In total, 9.45 million returns were filed on time, with 7.65 million filed online (including the 207,000 on 1 and 2 February). With nine out of 10 filed before the deadline, about one million people face a £100 penalty.

David Gauke, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “I’m delighted so many people filed their tax returns online this year. The record number proves that it’s quick, easy and secure to do.

“HMRC has always been clear that it wants returns not penalties, so it is good news that more than 90% of all returns were submitted on time.

“I am also pleased that the extension to the filing deadline prevented people from being unfairly penalised if they were unable to speak to HMRC on the 31 January.”

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