More than 30,000 contractors, freelancers and other self-employed workers in the UK left it until the final hour to submit their self-assessment tax returns ahead of the deadline on January 31st.
This is according to HMRC data, which shows that a record-breaking 10.7 million (92.5 per cent) of those required to file a tax return did so before the deadline, meaning they avoided an automatic financial penalty.
Altogether, 787,707 people waited until January 31st itself to complete their self-assessment, with 30,348 leaving the task until after 11pm on the night. However, the busiest hour for submission on the day was between 4pm and 5pm, when an average of 17 returns per second or 1,010 per minute were submitted to HMRC via its online portal.
In addition, 195,260 called up HMRC for help with filling out their self-assessment return on the deadline day - a panic that could have been avoided had they not left the task until the last minute.
At PayStream, our limited company accountancy service My PSC is designed to help contractors ensure they are working in the most tax-efficient way all year round, with access to real-time updates on their company finances. This means they can have more visibility over the best time to submit their tax return, rather than leave it until the last moment and end up facing an unnecessary fine.
Angela MacDonald, Director-General for Customer Services at HMRC, commented: "It's really fantastic to see that, each year, more and more self-assessment customers are getting ahead of the game and submitting their tax return before the January 31st deadline.
"If you're one of the small number that missed the deadline, please submit your return now to avoid further penalties. We really don't want penalties, we just want tax returns."
She added that HMRC would continue to adapt its submission process to make it foolproof so that there are no excuses for missing the deadline in the future.