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Early bird catches the worm AccountingWEB Nearly 300,000 taxpayers have already submitted their tax return
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Nearly 300,000 taxpayers have already submitted tax returns

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HMRC has shared that 295,250 tax returns were filed in the first week of the new tax year, almost 10 months ahead of the deadline. Will there be fewer tardy taxpayers this tax year?

14th May 2024
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Despite the first day of the tax year (6 April) falling on a Saturday, 67,870 still filed their self assessment (SA) return. In total, 295,250 have already submitted their tax return in the first week, nearly 50,000 more in comparison to this time last year. 

Posting on X, Ray McCann, tax professional and former Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) president questioned this figure. He wrote, “This is very odd before P60s are issued, before company benefits are notified, what is going on!”

So AccountingWEB asked the community whether any of their clients were a part of this statistic and whether they had found that more clients wanted their SA done and dusted sooner this tax year

Early bird catches the tax worm 

Some of the community were proud to announce that both they and their clients had begun the tax year by filing SA returns. 

Regular commenter, Ireallyshouldknowthisbut was one of these. They said, “We have filed about 35 and another five have gone out for a signature, which is just over 10% of our total with four and half weeks of the tax season gone.

“We aim for 10% a month over the 10 months of the tax season. Usually, we do 35% by the end of July, have a bit of a quiet August, a busy autumn and down to sub 5% by Christmas. It’s all about client selection and setting expectations.”  

Another member, K81 wrote, “We have filed more so far this year than usual.” So maybe taxpayers have turned over a new leaf? 

Nothing to worry about 

But don’t worry if you or your clients haven’t even thought about filing an SA return as the rest of the community assured us that this number is most likely down to self-employed taxpayers working under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) making repayment claims.

WinterDragon, a regular AccountingWEB contributor, pointed out that while they had filed a few returns it had mostly been from those working under CIS. He commented, “Yes, we have filed quite a few returns and trialled some new processes that are going well. It has mostly been the usual CIS lot that wants their refund ASAP.”

AA90 agreed replying, “Yes, I have filed over 50% of my client base. The vast majority (over 80% of my clients) are subcontractors and so in a rush for their refund.”

AWEB commenter Mr_awol was somewhat disappointed with the statistics. “300,000 by now isn’t a particularly impressive statistic, surely? I must admit I’d have expected it to be more, assuming most/all of them are repayment claims. If it was 300,000 excluding subbies and/or anyone else who is in line for a refund, then it would be impressive.”

Replies (7)

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By JustAnotherUser
14th May 2024 12:26

3% of returns in 2% of time allowed? amazing, but why cherry pick the first week, did HMRC share the success in week 2, or week 3? Was there a massive drop off after that first week?

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/300000-file-tax-returns-in-the-first-...

They say "HMRC is encouraging people to do it early" is this people, or agents filing early, if it were to be agents then this encouragement is not working.

They do claim "more than 246,000 people submitted their Self Assessment" the language used implies not agents, would like to see this clarified somewhere.

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By FactChecker
14th May 2024 18:12

Typical HMRC press release garbage ...
- says nothing really;
- explains even less;
- obscures the reality experienced by most.

How many of those 'tax returns' are just 'wot I gotta fill in get to my rebate'?
By how much has the volume of taxpayers needing to file grown year on year?
What message are HMRC even trying to portray?

That last point being pertinent in that many (quite possibly most) taxpayers equate filing a return with the need to 'pay the bill'. It doesn't matter that they don't have to pay now - but they do. And the response from HMRC systems is to show that payment as 'overpaid' - because, although they can see the obvious correlation with the calculated amount in the captured return, their system says the tax is not due yet so cannot be allocated (and that zero tax is due)!

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By richard thomas
14th May 2024 19:56

Why illustrate an article about UK tax and the early worm with an American Robin (Turdus migratorius) and not say a Blackbird?

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By mkowl
15th May 2024 09:59

We have filed 1 - do I get a badge

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By wyoming
15th May 2024 10:07

Usually file my own TR on 6 April. Was a bit tardy this year - 10 April. As for clients, not counting the wrongly issued ones that I have got cancelled (that's another story), have only filed 3 so far (out of around 250)!

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By Agutter Accounts
15th May 2024 10:22

Anyone with CIS sub-contractors as clients knows who will be at the head of the queue. These lads want there refunds because they help pay for their holidays.

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Replying to Agutter Accounts:
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By johnjenkins
16th May 2024 10:38

Spot on, and this year I have clients who (normally wait till Christmas) want their refund (if they are due one) earlier to get away from our rainy period.

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