Page last updated at 13:37 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Online tax returns 'popular ahead of deadline'

Moira Stuart in the advert
Adverts featuring Moira Stuart urged people not to miss the deadline

The number of people filing their self-assessment tax returns online hit another record this year, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Nearly 6.5 million people filed on the internet ahead of Sunday's deadline, up from 5.8 million the previous year.

The most popular time for submissions was between 1600 and 1700 on Friday, 29 January, when some 39,512 returns were received by HMRC.

Those who missed Sunday's deadline face a late payment fine of £100.

Payments

Self-assessment involves completing a tax return in order to tell the HMRC about income and capital gains - profits on the sale of certain assets - or to claim tax allowances or reliefs against your tax bill.

This is required primarily from the self-employed or those who have income from several sources. More than 9.5 million returns are filed each year.

A growing number of people have been using the online system for their self-assessment tax returns, with a new record regularly set.

There were benefits for those who decided to file online, according to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Timms.

"HMRC processes your return faster, so any money you are owed is repaid more quickly," he said.

Warnings have been repeated about an e-mail phishing scam in which recipients are told they are due a tax refund and asked to fill in an online form with bank or credit card details.

Victims have their accounts emptied or card limits used, and risk having the details sold to other criminal gangs.

HMRC said it never sent out e-mails on the subject, as those who were due a refund were informed by post.



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