Taxpayers are being reminded that they must file their self assessment returns online by 31 January if they wish to avoid a £100 penalty.

They must also bear in mind that in order to submit a return online they need to make sure that they are registered by 21 January.

With the deadline for 2007/08 tax returns looming, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has reported that online filing has outstripped paper returns for the first time.

The deadline for paper returns was 31 October so taxpayers yet to submit their returns must now do so online.

Anyone wishing to register for online filing should visit the HMRC website at and click Register for Self Assessment Online.

Once this is completed, a pin number will be sent in the post. However, this may take up to seven days so it is vital to register now.

Stephen Banyard of HMRC said: “If you haven’t filed your return yet, don’t worry – there is still time. But you will need to make sure you have registered by 21 January, to allow enough time for you to receive your activation code and file online.”

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