personal tax return but over 700,000 were late.
And many of those people gave an excuse to try and avoid the fines. But what excuses did they give?
Every year, HMRC publishes some of the worst excuses. Here are our top ten from the past few years.
- My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
- I’m too short to reach the post box
- I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was slow to learn
- My hamster ate my post
- After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else
- I’ve been cruising around the world in my yacht and only picking up post when I’m on dry land
- My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type
- I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency
- My ex-wife left the tax return upstairs and I can’t go and get it because I suffer from vertigo.
- My wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me into the house. ET was unable to fill in the form himself.
And, of course, we can’t ignore the excuse given by one person that they couldn’t do their tax return because their accountant had run off…….with his wife!
As you can imagine, none of the excuses were accepted by HMRC.
What excuses do work?
HMRC will accept a “reasonable excuse”. There isn’t a legal definition, but this must be an “an unexpected or unusual event, either unforeseeable or beyond the customer’s control, which prevents him from complying with an obligation when he would otherwise have done”.
- Bereavement – the death of a close relative near to the deadline
- Serious illness, eg coma, heart attack or stroke
- Being on active service overseas with the Armed Forces
What’s the fine if I’m late?
There’s an immediate £100 fine if you miss the deadline at midnight on 31 January.
From 1 May, you’ll get charged an extra £10 per day for the next 90 days, ie up to £900 extra.
If you pass 31 July, there’s an additional fine – this time it’s the larger of £300 or 5% of the tax owed. And it’s the same again if you’re a year late – another £300 or 5% of the tax.
And then there’s interest added as well!
As an example, if you’re over 6 months late, you’ll be fined a minimum of £1,300! So it’s well worth getting it in on time.
If you’d like to know any more, please get in touch with us.
I hope that’s useful. If you’d like to see more videos where we answer lots of questions on tax and accounts, take a look at our YouTube page. You can also subscribe for more videos