People complain every year that Christmas Day telly gets worse and worse. Well now we finally have proof. HMRC has reported a 40% increase in people doing their Self Assessment tax returns online on the holiest of all days. It seems people have finally had their fill of Dad’s Army re-runs and now avoid rarely seen relatives by getting up to date with their taxes. A total of 1,548 people took some time away from presents and drinking to get their Self Assessment out of the way.
It might also have something to do with the increased penalties HMRC have enforced to get people to be prompt and adhere to the deadlines. Two million people were late last year with filing their returns (although there’s no concrete evidence on whether 2011’s Christmas TV schedule influenced this). HMRC are currently sending out letters to the remaining 850,000 people who have still yet to get their papers in order.
Previously the most you could be fined was £1,300 (and that’s even if there is no tax due at all), but that has now risen to £1,600. HMRC also launched an “inner peace” campaign, which managed to thoroughly confuse their Twitter followers until the theme was explained.
Part of this campaign is to push people to do their taxes online and thus streamlining the process and bringing down backlogs. These online forms have to be completed by January 31st, and 14,000 people done theirs in the build up to Christmas. Not exactly a huge proportion of the 10.5 million who have to file personal tax, but it is an increase on last year by nearly 10,000!
Photo by Jeppestown