Nearly 1m taxpayers have already filed 2020/21 self assessment

Taxpayers have been getting organised with 950,000 already having completed their 2020/21 tax returns with 63,500 filing their self assessment on the first day of the tax year, HMRC has revealed

And with almost 950,000 online Self Assessment returns received so far this tax year, HMRC is urging others to do the same and file their tax returns early.

HMRC has seen a growing trend in early filers. In the last five tax years, the number of customers choosing to file on the first day of the new tax year has almost trebled from 22,885 in 2017 to 63,521 in 2021. However, the pandemic has had an impact with this year’s figure down a third on last year’s completed filing figure of over 90,000.

But while the figures for the new tax year are encouraging, according to HMRC figures, there were around 1.1m 2019/20 self-assessment tax returns outstanding at the beginning of March 2021. This represents nearly one in 10 of all expected tax returns. 

HMRC has published information on how to file self assessment tax returns to help taxpayers file early – how to do it, what the benefits are, and what they need to get started.

Myrtle Lloyd, HMRC’s director general for customer services, said: ‘There are many advantages to completing your self assessment tax return sooner rather than later, not least that if you’re due tax refund you’ll get the money within a few days.

‘Our new online guide helps answer many of the questions customers have about Self Assessment. Go to and search ‘file your tax return early’.’

The self assessment guide will help taxpayers navigate the tax return process and HMRC adds that returns can be filed any time before the deadline on 31 January 2022.

It includes useful information on:

  • how to get help with your tax return;
  • what to do when declaring furlough payments, Self-employed Income Support Scheme grants or other COVID-19 support measures;
  • what information you need before you can start your tax return;
  • help with paying your bill; and
  • what to do if you have paid too much tax.

HMRC has also issued a warning to taxpayers to be aware of copycat HMRC websites and phishing scams. They should search ‘self assessment’ on to get the correct link for their self assessment tax return online securely and free of charge. They also need to be alert if someone calls, emails or texts claiming to be from HMRC, asking for bank or other personal details, threatening arrest or demanding a money transfer. It might be a scam. Anyone who is unsure can use the checklist on to help them decide if the contact they received is a scam.


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