HM Revenue and Customs has reported a 40% increase in the number of people filing self assessment tax returns online this year.
HMRC said 150,000 returns had been filed in the 24 hours leading up to the midnight deadline on 31 January, with more than 6,000 returns an hour processed during peak filing times. A total of almost 2.9 million filed their returns online.
The website had stayed live throughout the busy period, with no systems problems, a spokesperson said. But some users had experienced slowness with either the online calculation of their taxes or with delivery of receipts, he said. “There were peak periods where the system was not the system was not as fast as we would like because of the volume online. But there are nine months in which people can file.”
This is the second year in which HMRC’s online systems have successfully handled rising numbers of users. Last year two million taxpayers filed online – up 38% on 2005. HMRC took steps to improve its infrastructure in 2005, after it was forced to give 14 days’ leeway to taxpayers who had filed on time but not received a receipt.
Paul Gray, acting chair of HMRC, said: "This huge growth in online filing shows that our customers are welcoming the accessibility and reliability of our online services. All the work we have undertaken to increase the capacity and robustness of our IT systems has paid off.
"Over the past year we have also responded to customers' feedback to develop online services still further. This has resulted in the introduction on a new online attachments service, which allows agents to submit supporting information with the returns they file on behalf of their clients."