How dull must your Christmas Day be if you'd rather fill out an online tax return Maybe ask one of the 1,500 people who did



18:13 GMT, 27 December 2012

While most of us spent Christmas Day enjoying good food and a well-earned break with family, some Britons were not so lucky.

More than 1,500 broke off festivities on Tuesday to fill out their tax returns – an increase of 40 per cent on last year.

And Christmas Day was not the only day to be filled with onerous duties, as thousands knuckled down to do their taxes on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day too.

Duty: More than 1,500 people filled out tax returns on Christmas Day

Duty: More than 1,500 people filled out tax returns on Christmas Day

According to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, 1,548 people filled out tax returns online on the 25th, compared to 1,100 last year.

The day before was extremely busy, as 14,330 people visited the HMRC website in a bid to finish off their taxes before Christmas.

Reminder: The Inland Revenue's 'Hector the Tax Inspector'

Reminder: The Inland Revenue's 'Hector the Tax Inspector'

That was a 248 per cent increase on 2011, when on 4,115 people used Christmas Eve to take care of their finances.

Others who left it later were forced to spend their Boxing Day holiday on HMRC's website – 4,685 people filled in tax returns on Wednesday.

Once again, this was a big rise on the previous year, when around 3,500 people visited the site on Boxing Day.

That means more than 20,000 people dedicated part of the Christmas period to their tax returns – and HMRC is encouraging other taxpayers to follow their example and 'dig out their bank statements and P60s'.

The deadline for online self-assessment returns is January 31, but the Revenue has launched a new campaign in a bid to persuade people to file their returns early.

The organisation has released a series of tongue-in-cheek ads urging taxpayers to seek 'inner peace' by finalising their taxes well before the deadline.

More than 10million people are subject to self-assessment – and many of them could face a harrowing few weeks as they pull all their documentation together in preparation for the deadline next month.

Those who miss the date will have to pay fines of at least 100, and could be faced with thousands of pounds in penalties if they dally for too long after the deadline.

The fines apply even to those who do not owe extra taxes, and in past years have led to widespread fury from taxpayers caught in the net.