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Are you one of 6 million people yet to file a personal tax return?

Last updated on Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Written by Alex Cadman

Recent statistics show that there are almost 6 million people in the UK who are still required to complete a personal tax return but haven’t. If you’re one of these people, you could face fines and mounting penalties if you don’t file soon.


There are 11 million people in the UK who are required to file and submit a personal tax return for 2015/16. This means that almost 55% of those who are required to submit have not done so yet, with little time left until the deadline on midnight, 31st January.

Research by YouGov found that around 2 million will spend almost an entire working day on their personal tax return, with some taking over 10 hours to complete it. If you lack patience, don’t have a computer at home, or don’t understand the paperwork, this could be you. 

In 2016, around 870,000 people failed to submit their personal tax returns to HMRC by the deadline. Filing a personal tax return past the midnight, 31st January deadline results in an instant £100 fine. Last year this would have meant £87,000,000 owed by taxpayers unless a legitimate case was made for filing late, such as the death of a loved one or a genuine technology fault.

This is a worrying statistic, as those who run into problems whilst completing their returns this year might be faced with an extensive queue for the HMRC telephone helpline due to the large number of people who haven’t yet submitted. Furthermore, being in a telephone queue with HMRC may not be a legitimate enough excuse to submit your personal tax return late.

Here are a few instances where you may have a reasonable excuse for filing your personal tax return past the deadline:

  • Strike action/systems failure at HMRC
  • Serious illness of the taxpayer or a close member of family
  • Certain postal delays


You can avoid the stress and hassle of thinking up an excuse that may not work by hiring an accountant to complete your personal tax return now. If you normally do this yourself, yet think you may not have the time or feel confused about the paperwork, it’s still worth a punt to enlist the help of an accountant. Accountants are experts in personal tax returns and will be able to complete and submit yours to HMRC by the deadline so long as you provide them with accurate and sufficient information.

Not sure if you have to file a personal tax return?

You must file and submit a personal tax return, otherwise known as a self-assessment, if:

  • You are self-employed
  • You are a higher-rate taxpayer
  • You are the Director of a limited company and get paid via dividends
  • You receive rental income from property in the UK
  • You receive foreign income even if you don’t normally reside in the UK
  • You receive any form of untaxed income, capital gains or losses
  • You have your own pension fund or certain savings/investments
  • You receive other untaxed income specified by HMRC


Still not sure? Find out more or call 01707 871622.

In addition to neglecting to submit your completed personal tax return on time, there are additional penalties for failing to pay your late fines.

Here’s a reminder of fines and penalties for submitting personal tax returns past the deadline:

Late by:

Penalty issued:

1 day

Automatic fixed penalty of £100; applicable even if no tax owed

3 months

£10 per day up to £900 in addition to the above

6 months

£300 or 5% of tax due, whichever is highest, in addition to both of the above

12 months

£300 or 5%; whichever is highest. You may be required to pay 100% of the tax due instead, in addition to the above


There are only three weeks left to submit your personal tax return. Avoid the above late fines and penalties by calling 01707 871622, or get in touch via email.

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