Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers have been handed an automatic penalty after failing to file their tax return on time, the tax office has revealed.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) urged offending parties to submit their tax returns now to avoid further penalties.
An automatic £100 fixed penalty is issued to taxpayers even if they are just a minute late.
According to the figures, 745,588 of the total 11.4 million tax returns due are still outstanding.
Thousands more taxpayers missed out on penalties by a tight margin. Around 758,000 people completed their return on the last day before the deadline, while 30,348 taxpayers narrowly avoided automatic fines by completing their returns between 11 pm and 11.59 pm on deadline day.
The tax office said it handled 195,260 calls over the course of the day, while more than 92.5 per cent of total returns were completed using the department’s online service.
Angela MacDonald, Director General for Customer Services, 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.”
If you’ve missed the deadline and have a reasonable excuse, please contact HMRC. Earlier this week we reported that the tax office would waive fines for taxpayers unable to complete their tax returns on time, including those suffering from mental illness.