New figures from the ONS show that income tax collected by HMRC via Self Assessment rose by 33% year-on-year to a record £21.9bn ($26.5bn) in Jan, helping to push public sector net borrowing into a higher than expected surplus of £5.4bn.
Meanwhile, the overall tax take for the month reached its highest level of £106.5bn, 19% up on the same month last year.
According to the ONS, January’s high annual self-assessed tax receipts were partly offset by substantial spending on energy support schemes.
Commenting on the latest figures, BDO’s head of tax dispute resolution, Dawn Register said: “After a record 11.7m tax returns filed by the 31 January deadline, HMRC will have been expecting high tax collection figures for January. Despite this achievement for HMRC, these record figures for Self Assessment income tax payments also reflect the impact of frozen tax thresholds, and the subsequent increase in the number of people being pulled into the Self Assessment tax net.
“Those who missed the 31 January filing deadline should ensure their returns are filed as soon as possible as penalties will already apply. Those making late payments should also be aware that the late payment interest charged rises to 6.5% from today.
“While January’s figures have boosted the public finances, what today’s figures don’t show is that the level of outstanding tax debt owed to the Exchequer also rose. The latest statistics released earlier this month show that tax debt rose by 22% year-on-year to reach £48bn as at the end of December 2022.
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“Clearly there are taxpayers whose economic circumstances mean that they will need to agree Time to Pay arrangements with HMRC.
“But if HMRC were better resourced to tackle persistent and deliberate non-payers and prevent more tax avoidance, the public finances would be in a much better shape and the tax burden on those paying promptly could ease. This should be a priority for the Chancellor at the March Budget.”