If you are required to file a tax return for 2015-16, and have not yet done so, you have until 31 January 2017 to complete the online filing process before automatic fines and possible penalties will be applied.
Readers may be amused by the following excuses made by tax payers who have previously filed late returns.
- “My tax return was on my yacht…which caught fire”
- “A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed”
- “My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days”
- “My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders”
- “I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant”
- “My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back”
- “I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it”
- “My husband told me the deadline was the 31 March”
- “My internet connection failed”
- “The postman doesn’t deliver to my house”
The reasons above were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late returns.
HMRC will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as they focus penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and are deliberate tax evaders. This remains the case, although the excuse must be genuine and HMRC might ask for evidence. The ten excuses listed above were all declined on the basis that they were either untrue or not good enough reasons for late filing.