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10 things you might not know about self-assessment

It’s that time of year again! As every contractor and freelancer knows, January is the time to get those accounts…

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It’s that time of year again! As every contractor and freelancer knows, January is the time to get those accounts straight, file your return and pay any outstanding tax. While we’re all familiar with the nuts and bolts of the self-assessment process, we thought we’d take a closer look at the bigger picture.

So here are 10 things that you might not know about self-assessment. Hopefully, you’re in the 52% of people who have already filed their self-assessment with HMRC. If so, you can sit back and read the rest of this blog in a self-satisfied state of calm.

  1. Last year was a record-breaking year for self-assessment, with 10.7 million taxpayers submitting before the deadline.
  2. People aged 18-20 are most likely to file their returns late and receive a fine. People aged 65+ are the most punctual with their returns. The stereotype of reckless, disorganised youth holds true in this case!
  3. In 2014, nearly 25,000 returns were filed in between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. That’s one way to escape heated conversations about Brexit with your Uncle Geoffrey! We hope anyone doing this was at least sporting a Christmas cracker hat and nursing a glass of eggnog while they worked.
  4. What about all those fees for late submission? If you miss the deadline, you get an immediate £100 fine. In 2015, HRMC made £89 million from this charge. That’s the same amount that Man United paid for Paul Pogba in a record-breaking transfer in 2016. It’s enough to buy 365 houses at the average UK house price – one for every day of the year!
  5. If you have left it until the last minute, you’re not alone. Last year, 758,707 people completed their return on 31st January, deadline day. Between 4-5pm on January 31st HMRC received 60,596 returns in just one hour, at a rate of 1010 returns per minute or 17 submissions every second!
  6. But more than thirty thousand people really did wait until the literal eleventh hour. 30,348 taxpayers submitted their forms between 11pm and 11.59pm on January 31st. Talk about cutting it fine!
  7. Londoners are more likely to miss the return date than those from other regions of England.
  8. Paper returns are almost entirely a thing of the past. Last year, 9.9 million people filed their returns online. That’s 92.5% of all returns.
  9. If you think you might need telephone help to fill in your form, best get on the line now. On 31st January last year, HMRC took 195,260 phone calls. The average wait time for a call to be answered was three minutes and six seconds ? just about enough time to boil an egg if you like a runny yolk!
  10. Every year, HMRC receives some outlandish excuses for failure to complete tax returns on time. Some of our favourites from the past are: “My tax return was on my yacht…which caught on fire”, “My tax papers were left in the shed and a rat ate them”, “My husband ran over my laptop”.

Kingsbridge would like to wish all our blog readers a stress-free tax return deadline day! While you’re online filing your form, why not head over to and get a quick quote.

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