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Top 10 Tax Return Excuses not to use
January 2017

The Christmas tradition of filing the self-assessment tax return on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day continued this year. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reported that 6,214 returns were filed on Christmas Eve, 1,944 on Christmas Day and 6,200 on Boxing Day.

But for those with better things to do during the festive season and who miss the 31 January filing deadline, HMRC has posted its list of Top Ten excuses that won’t work, all genuine appeals against HMRC penalties for 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”.   

William Ngan, Senior Associate and tax specialist in the Corporate and Commercial Team at Jolliffe & Co LLP said; “Some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others but usually it’s lack of confidence on what to include and the daunting task of completing the paperwork itself. 

There is help out there from experienced professionals we can recommend. The key is to seek professional help sooner rather than later.”

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, added: “It’s only a small minority who chance their arm and there will always be help and support available for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. 

If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now – the earlier we’re contacted, the better.” The deadline for sending 2015-16 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2017. 

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