HMRC
Deadline day for HMRC’s self-assessment tax returns is 31 JanuaryReuters

The deadline for self-assessment tax returns is fast approaching and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is waiting with open arms for millions of documents to come flooding in.

Come 31 January, millions of people will still face a £100 fine if they do not get their forms in before the midnight deadline.

However, there is no need to panic if you are one of those people who is leaving it until the last minute.

In the nick of time

It is the British way to postpone doing something important until you have virtually run out of time. And data given to IBTimes UK backs this up.

Figures from HMRC shows a massive 569,847 self-assessment tax returns came in on deadline day in 2014.

Although this was a fraction of the total that came in last year, it goes to show that with some five days left, there is time. More data handed to IBTimes UK reveals that, at the time of writing, HMRC has received some 8.2 million returns – and the taxman is still waiting on another 2.5 million, so if you have not got it in yet, you are not alone.

Only 7% of taxpayers who have to do a self-assessment tax return missed the deadline in January 2014. Make sure you are not one of them.

Get your excuses ready

If you do not make it in time, HMRC has published its top excuses to give you a bit of an idea on what not to say.

Straight from the taxman, here are the top five excuses that were genuinely used in 2014:

1. My pet dog ate my tax return... and all the reminders.

2. I was up a mountain in Wales and could not find a postbox or get an internet signal.

3. I fell in with the wrong crowd.

4. I have been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.

5. Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.

Ruth Owen, HMRC director general of personal tax, said: "People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn't one of them."

Battle of the sexes

Figures from HMRC suggest women are better at being punctual for their tax returns. For every 10,000 tax returns that were received in 2014, 394 men missed the deadline, whereas this dropped to 358 late returns when it came to women.

Age matters too. Those aged 18-20 were the worst at getting their returns in on time (surprised?) with 1,085 in every 10,000 filing late. Those aged 65 and over were the best, with only 155 out of every 10,000 missing the deadline.