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Taxpayer’s offer outlandish excuses for flouting tax return deadline

Taxpayers must file 2016/17’s self-assessment tax return and pay any tax owed to HM Revenue & Customs by 31 January 2018. But, despite it being on the same date every year, thousands still manage to miss the tax return deadline.

Excuses, excuses, excuses

Last tax year, 840,000 taxpayers failed to file on time and over the past 12 months HMRC have compiled some of the most outlandish excuses it has received, as well as some pretty unbelievable expense claims.

Some of the peculiar reasons given by those who had missed the tax return deadline included:

  • My wife has been seeing aliens and she won’t let me into the house
  • My tax return is upstairs and I suffer from vertigo so can’t retrieve it
  • I’ve been extremely busy touring the country with my one-man play

As for expense claims received by HMRC, these are some of the most questionable:

  • A claim for the same meal, every day, spanning 250 days
  • The fees following one taxpayer’s trip to the vets with their rabbit
  • Drinks in a nightclub whilst on a birthday night out in Glasgow

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services said that ‘it was unfair to expect honest taxpayer’s to pick up the bill’ when it comes to the ‘questionable excuses’ and ‘absurd expense claims’ HMRC receives year on year.

She did, however, state that: “help will always be provided for those who have a genuine reason for not submitting on time.”

Financial penalties for flouting the tax return deadline

If you file your tax return after the deadline, you will face an initial fixed penalty of £100; this applies even where there is no tax to pay. After three months, you will face additional daily penalties of £10, up to a maximum of £900.

After six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due will be applied and after 12 months, another 5%.

There are also late payment penalties of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, six months and 12 months.

Don’t be one of those left dreaming up an excuse in the days that follow the tax return deadline. If you’re a client and we prepare your annual self-assessment tax return, we would urge you to send in any relevant documentation as soon as possible so that your accountant can ensure all is taken care of ahead of the 31 January 2018.

If you’re not currently working with an accountant, have you considered doing so? After all, who needs panic, paperwork or penalties?

If you need any assistance with the preparation or submission of your self-assessment tax return then please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll ensure your affairs are handled quickly, efficiently and compliantly, giving you peace of mind and more time to focus on the day-to-day running of your business.

Looking for some more light reading on tax returns? We share our tips for prioritising your tax return as opposed to putting it off here and, in a previous blog, we discuss the dangers associated with ‘going it alone’.

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