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Fun facts about Self Assessment as it turns 20

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has marked the 20th anniversary of Self Assessment internet filing by sharing some fascinating facts about the service.

Fun facts about Self Assessment as it turns 20
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  • Adrian Flores
  • January 19, 2021
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In 2001, 38,000 online tax returns were filed, and this year HMRC estimates around 11 million online tax returns – quite the increase and in line with the digitisation of the tax system.

HMRC’s seven Self Assessment facts are:

  1. 96,519 people filed their tax return on 6 April 2020 (first day of the tax year);
  2. It’s the 20th anniversary of Self Assessment internet filing, the service began on 3 July 2000 – with 38,000 individuals successfully sending their digital tax return by 31 January 2001;
  3. In January 2011, 3.4 million taxpayers completed a Self Assessment tax return online. This has increased to an estimated 5 million in January 2021;
  4. This year’s deadline (31 January 2021) is on a Sunday. The last time the deadline was on a Sunday was in 2016;
  5. Last year, the busiest filing day was 31 January with 702,171 returns completed;
  6. The peak hour for filing last year was between 16:00 to 16:59 on 31 January when 56,969 customers filed; and
  7. HMRC has increased the self-serve Time to Pay threshold to £30,000 to help Self Assessment customers spread the cost of their tax bill.

“It’s 20 years since Self Assessment online was introduced and it’s how the vast majority of customers complete their tax return these days. Fewer and fewer people are doing it on paper each year,” said HMRC’s interim director general for customer services, Karl Khan.

“There’s still time for customers to complete their tax return before the deadline, and help and support is available on GOV.UK.”

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