According to an announcement published by HMRC 24 January:
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that just over 3 million customers are yet to complete their 2016 to 2017 returns with just under one week to go before the 31 January deadline.
As of 24 January 2018 around 8 million people have filed their Self Assessment return for 2016 to 2017. HMRC is reminding customers that if you send your tax return late, you will receive a £100 penalty – even if you do not owe any tax. The longer you delay, the more you will have to pay.
Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said:
“The 7-day countdown to 31 January has now begun. Put a stop to that niggling feeling and do your Self Assessment now. Our helpful online services offer support and advice, so you can complete your tax return quicker than you think.
The deadline for sending 2016 to 2017 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2018.
Self Assessment customers can now also submit their return through their personal tax account. It takes 5 minutes to sign up for a personal tax account. If you think you won’t be able to submit your tax return by 31 January, please ring us, so we can help you.”
Certainly, professionals involved in submitting returns for clients will be facing late nights in many cases as tardy clients finally come up with missing information, but are HMRC really keen to see these three million outstanding returns filed before the 31 January 2018 deadline?
If, in the worse-case scenario, three million returns are filed late, that will generate a minimum £300m in automatic penalties, and create much needed revenue for our government. There must be sections of the Treasury that have fingers firmly crossed that HMRC’s exhortations to file before the 31 January are roundly ignored.