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29 Dec 2020

Revealed: how many people did their tax return at Christmas

More than 30,000 filed between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day

More than 30,000 people submitted their tax return to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) over the Christmas period, with 2,700 choosing to file on Christmas Day.

The numbers have dipped compared to 2019, when just over 3,000 filed their return on Christmas Day.

And when the vast majority of us were sitting down to have a festive lunch, HMRC was seeing a flurry of returns - its busiest period for submissions was between 2pm and 3pm on 25 December, when 214 returns were sent in.

Read on to find tips on doing your tax return - whenever suits you.

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Christmas Eve sees record submissions

According to data published by HMRC, 22,200 people submitted a return on Christmas Eve, up by 10% on the previous year.

The busiest time was between 11am and 12pm on Christmas Eve, when 2,892 returns were submitted.

Some 8,500 submissions were completed on Boxing Day, with 858 submitted between 3pm and 4pm.

The choice of the festive period to do tax returns is even more confusing, given that the deadline for online submissions of 2019-20 tax returns isn't until 31 January 2021.

Coronavirus and tax returns

As a result of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, HMRC has introduced a range of support measures to help those who may be struggling financially.

While you will still need to complete your tax return, some bill payments can be deferred until 2022.

Those who will struggle to pay their tax bill for the 2019-20 tax year, where the tax is due by 31 January 2021, can apply to the government's Time to Pay scheme, which allows you to spread your bill over monthly instalments until January 2022. Interest of 2.6% is charged on these payments.

The Time to Pay scheme was altered in the Chancellor's Winter Economy Plan to offer support to people experiencing financial difficulty during the pandemic.

Whereas in the past it was only available to those who earned £10,000 or less, the threshold has now been trebled. To be eligible, you must:

  • Owe less than £30,000
  • Be signed up to gov.uk and have a government gateway ID
  • Have filed your 2019-20 tax return and know how much tax you owe
  • Not have any other outstanding tax returns or owe any other money to HMRC.

If you owe more than £30,000, or need more than 12 months to pay, you may be able to get a different instalment plan by calling the Payment Support Service on 0300 200 3835.

Find out more about submitting your tax returns in our self-assessment guide.

Complete your 2019-20 tax return with Which?

Which? offers a tax calculator that makes it quick and easy to work out how much tax you owe.

You can pull together all of your income and outgoings, work out your tax liability and submit your return directly to HMRC with a click of the button.

Try it for yourself at which.co.uk/taxcalculator.