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Online tax returns at record high

HM Revenue & Customs has revealed that a record high of 6.9 million people used the internet to complete their tax return before the January deadline.

Officially, 6,907,410 people filed the electronic form by midnight on January 31, which covers 78% of all the returns for the 2009/2010 tax year. It also represents a 7% boost on the 6.4 million people who completed their tax return online a year ago.

An estimated 572,455 scrambled to get the form submitted on the final day to avoid a £100 fine, which meant January 31 was the busiest day of the year to use the internet-based system.

The busiest time for online tax returns was between 4pm and 5pm when more than 49,000 people signed in to complete their return.

The deadline for paper tax returns was October 31, and people had until midnight on Monday to submit an online form or face being fined. Every year around 10% of people fail to get their form in on time.

Consumers are fined £100 if they have not completed their tax returns by January 31, and they can incur a further £100 penalty if one has still not been submitted by July 31.

They also have to pay interest on any unpaid tax, while persistent offenders could face a penalty of up to £60 a day in certain circumstances.

But not everyone who misses the deadline incurs a financial penalty, as people are fined only if they owe tax.

Anyone who has missed the deadline is advised to send their completed form and any unpaid tax to HMRC as soon as possible.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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