In light of the recent Self-Assessment Tax Return deadline here are some of the funniest reasons people have given to HMRC over the last few years for the late filing of their tax returns:

  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal
  • I fell in with the wrong crowd
  • A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back
  • My wife was seeing aliens and wouldn’t let me in the house
  • My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
  • I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
  • My accountant has been ill
  • I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file
  • My business doesn’t really do anything,
  • My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details to complete my return online
  • I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years
  • I had a cold which took a long time to go

 

But Seriously…

Over 11 million people were expected to complete a tax return by 31st January and those who didn’t will face a late £100 penalty, as did everyone in the above list.

    A reminder of the current penalty regime for late tax returns:

  • An initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay
  • After 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • After 6 months, a further penalty of 5 percent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • After 12 months, another 5 percent or £300 charge, whichever is greater
  • There are additional penalties for paying your tax bill late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months & 12 months

Whilst all these excuses are obviously laughable. HMRC will accept genuine excuses for late tax returns, including not being able to access your tax account or computer errors. Just note that the sooner you inform HMRC the more favorably they will look at your case and you only have 30 days to appeal against any fines given, so if you are having problems submitting your tax return then call the HMRC Self-Assessment Helpline on 0300 200 3310.