HMRC tells us that 1,548 tax returns were filed on Christmas day 2012. On Christmas Eve, 73 were filed in the last hour before midnight. HMRC suggests that these late-night filers will experience “inner peace” (HMRC’s words).
This could be read in a number of ways – the accuracy of the Christmas Eve late-nighters might be questionable if alcohol were present. On the other hand, it seems a shame that HMRC’s shadow should intrude into the festive season to this extent, and one might feel sympathy with those who, perhaps because of other pressures, feel compelled to file at this particular time. Others however might simply not celebrate Christmas – we are a multi-cultural society.
With the filing deadline for personal tax returns at 31 January, accountants are usually quite busy in this month, as we try to get returns in on time even for those clients who leave it to the very last before bringing their papers for the accountant.
HMRC clearly has the details as to who filed and when, and one would think that a return filed late at night, or on the very last day 31 January, might be viewed as being at higher risk of inaccuracies than returns filed on a more timely basis. As we move towards more interactions with HMRC being done online, presumably over time a profile can be built up of an individual taxpayer. Frightening?