2009 Sets UK Tax Return Compliance Record

February 3, 2010 Taxation in UK

31 JanThe number of UK nationals who filed their Self Assessment (SA) tax returns online in 2009 reached a record high, according to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The HMRC reported on February 1st that 6 429 899 individuals had filed their SA returns online before the January 31st deadline. The figure represents approximately three quarters of submitted returns and marks a 12 percent improvement over the previous year, where only 5 759 006 individuals made timely online submissions. According to the HMRC in excess of 9.5 million SA returns are issued across the UK each year.

In a media statement the HMRC revealed that nearly 6 percent of all online SA returns were submitted on the 29th of January. Nearly 40 000 returns were filed on that day between 4pm and 5pm, representing the busiest submission hour for the tax year.

Stephen Timms, Financial Secretary to the Treasury welcomed the news and extolled the virtues of online filing. He encouraged those who are still filing paper returns to switch to the online method, saying that it allows a faster turnaround for the HMRC, and that any money owing can be settled in a timelier manner. On the other hand, in a separate HMRC statement issued on January 31st, the department revealed that the increased utilization of online filing and the impending SA deadline had led to record numbers of “phishing” and scam emails reported by UK nationals. According to the HMRC, in September 2009 nearly 83 000 scam attempts were reported, and October saw the daily scam report rate reach as high as 10 000. Typically the scam attempts consisted of an email that claimed that the recipient was due for a tax return and was directed to reveal their bank details.

Photo by World of Oddy