SJD Accountancy

Record number of contractors submitting tax returns on deadline day

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Last week’s self-assessment deadline day for contractors reached an all-time record for the number of people submitting their tax returns.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that there were more than 10 million tax returns received on 31st January, which beats last year’s total of 9.61 million. 

The number of online returns received also broke last year’s record, with 8.48 million being sent online to HMRC – this figure was just 7.93 million in 2013. 

With around 10.74 million 2012 to 2013 tax returns due by 31 January, this means 93.4% met the deadlines – 31 October for paper and 31 January for online. This is the highest percentage of on-time returns ever recorded.

The busiest day for online returns was 31 January, when HMRC received 569,847. The busiest hour occurred between 4 pm and 5 pm on the same day when 45,706 returns – more than 12 per second – were received. And 21,027 people left it until the eleventh hour and filed their online return between 11 pm and midnight on deadline day.

At the beginning of the year, HMRC revealed the ‘Top 10 oddest excuses’ for sending in a late return, some of which included:

  • My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)
  • I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)
  • My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)
  • Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)
  • I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant)

Missing the tax return deadline results in a £100 late-filing penalty. There are further late-filing penalties after 3, 6 and 12 months.

How much could you be earning as a contractor? Type in your daily or hourly rate into our contractor calculator and see how much you could be taking home.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like further tax and Limited Company advice please contact our New business team on 01442 275789 or email

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