Sir Jon Thompson, knight of the HMRC


A new year’s honours list that recognises 1960s model Twiggy and ex Monty Python globetrotter Michael Palin also has space for the country’s top tax official.

Arise Sir Jon Thompson, who took on the £200,000-odd-a-year chief exec job at HMRC in 2016.

Incidentally, I’m not sure how that salary stacks up with the “services” to the taxpayer knighthood tag. (Although if you compare £200k with the eye-watering £5.7m average annual bonanza for an FTSE 100 company CEO, it does start to look like a real pittance.)

Anyway, I’m sure the knighthood will give Jon some much needed momentum as he attempts to steer MTD for VAT through the Brexit labyrinth and absorb some of the criticism of the “unfair” and “pernicious” retrospective loan charge. Among other HMRC challenges in 2019.

In other HMRC news, 5,542,000 or-so taxpayers have about three weeks or so  to complete their self assessment tax returns before the 31 January 2019 deadline.

More than 11.5 million 2017-18 tax returns are due and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) expects the vast majority of taxpayers to complete their returns and pay any tax owed by the end of the month.

Returns online

About 52 per cent of taxpayers have already filed their returns, as of 31 December 2018, and more than 5 million have completed their returns online.

Financial secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, says: “It is encouraging that around 52 per cent of taxpayers have already completed their self assessment tax returns. With less than one month to go before the deadline, there are still many people that need to act now. HMRC is encouraging all Self Assessment filers to complete their returns by 31 January and is offering support every step of the way.”

Angela MacDonald, HMRC’s director general for customer services, adds: “The self assessment deadline on 31 January is fast approaching, but there is still time for customers to file their tax returns online and on time to avoid any unnecessary penalties.

If you are completing self assessment for the first time or are yet to start your 2017 to 2018 tax return, there is a wide range of support and guidance available on GOV.UK to help at every stage of the tax return process.