While most households spent the holidays feasting and visiting relatives and friends, others apparently decided Christmas was the season to catch up on admin, with 22,000 Britons filing self-assessment tax returns during the yuletide break this year.
The latest data from HMRC indicates that on Christmas Day, 3,275 people took a break from eating mince pies and watching the Mrs Brown’s Boys special to disclose their latest earnings.
The number is up on 2021, when there were 2,828 returns, and 2020, when there were 2,700.
The big rush on 25 December was at lunchtime, between midday and 12.59pm. There were 319 returns received during this window, a time when most of us are preparing to demolish a plate of turkey and sprouts.
Overall, a total of 22,060 people went online to submit their form for the 2021-22 tax year between 24 and 26 December.
HMRC added that 141 opted to file between 11pm and 11.59pm on Christmas Eve, perhaps helping them to enjoy the festive celebrations knowing their tax return was safely in the hands of a government department.
The deadline to file and pay any tax owed for the 2021-22 tax year is 31 January 2023, and HMRC is urging customers to submit their tax return on time or they may face a penalty, which could include an initial £100 fine even if there is no tax to pay.
Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: “We are grateful to those customers who have already filed their tax returns.
“For anyone who is yet to make a start, help is available on gov.uk. Just search ‘self assessment’ to find out more.”
Those who are unable to pay their tax bill in full can access support and advice on gov.uk.
HMRC may be able to help by arranging an affordable payment plan, known as “time to pay”.
People should also be aware of the risk of falling victim to scams – as criminals will often send out bogus emails and texts to coincide with tax deadlines.