Tax Return Submissions – the numbers so far, and a warning!

HMRC, News, Personal Tax,

According to statistics released by HMRC 5.7 million taxpayers are still to file their 2022/23 tax return before the 31st of January deadline. This is roughly similar to the number outstanding at the same time in 2023.

HMRC have announced that 4,757 taxpayers filed their Self-Assessment Tax Return on Christmas Day. With 8,876 having been filed on Christmas Eve and a further 12,136 being filed on Boxing Day, this was a significant number. 

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s Director General for Customer Services, used the announcement as an opportunity to encourage taxpayers to submit their outstanding returns sooner rather than later saying ‘There’s no need to delay. Getting your return done ahead of the 31st January deadline means less stress and longer to work out payment options.’ 

For once, we would definitely agree!

Although the numbers of returns having been filed over the festive period is broadly similar to those submitted in 2023, the significant difference this year is that there is limited telephone support for taxpayers. 

HMRC announced in December that it will be screening taxpayers’ calls and re directing as many as possible to a digital service. Additionally, a dedicated Agent line, supposedly for accountants and advisors, will take calls only about self-assessment filing, payments and repayments. 

This means accountants with other queries will have to go online or use other channels. Many accountants have raised concerns about these restrictions and again, we agree! 

In common with many of our clients and, we’re sure, the majority of taxpayers, we only choose to phone HMRC and invest significant time in doing so, as a last resort. Consequently we’ve usually exhausted those limited alternative options before picking up the phone!

The new restrictions to the telephone support service follows their closure for three months last summer, so it’s unlikely to be the last time we all have to navigate the issue. 

As always, we’re here to help with your Return if you’d like us to, but our advice to any taxpayer is to make a significant effort to get it submitted as quickly as possible if you haven’t already done so, as any query you come across is not going to be quick to resolve. And if you need to contact HMRC, don’t leave it until the last minute to do so, as it’s going to take time to get through, if you’re even able to speak to someone.

In future, we’d strongly recommend making the completion of your Return a pre-Christmas task, to ensure you avoid the busiest submission period.

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