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No excuses – file your tax return on time
01 Dec

Time is ticking for the tax return deadline on 31st January. According to HMRC, 16,000 people filed their 2016-2017 return online during the Christmas break – even on Christmas Day itself! Still, that’s better than the business owners who completely miss the deadline and end up paying a £100 fine plus a £10 daily penalty.

And if late filers think they can throw themselves at the mercy of HMRC, think again! Unless you have a genuine excuse, with evidence to back it up, they’re not buying it. Honestly, those guys have heard  it all before – and these are just some of the weird and wonderful excuses people have come up with...

My dog ate it...

When it comes to excuses for filing a late tax return Fido often gets the finger of blame. But it’s not just dogs that are in the firing line. One excuse, from a farmer, was that he’d had a run-in with a cow. Another was that a wasp had caused a car accident and the return, which was inside the vehicle, was destroyed. Our favourite? ‘I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.’ As you do.

Partner in crime

Why admit to it being your own fault for not filing your tax return on time when you can say it was down to your spouse? How about this for an excuse? ‘I couldn’t complete my tax return because my husband left me and took our accountant with him.’  Or this? ‘I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.’

Keep it in the family

One late returner blamed their niece for moving in – ‘she made the house so untidy I couldn’t find my login details to complete my return online’. Another told HMRC: ‘I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out.’

Barack Obama is in charge of my finances

Run out of excuses? Well obviously you pin your late tax return on a US president. Or maybe the postman. Or a work colleague. Or you just hold your hands in the air and admit ‘I fell in with the wrong crowd.’

Out of office

You can hardly expect someone to file their return if they’re out of the office, can you? Well that was what a man up a Welsh mountain without any internet signal reckoned anyway. Another was clearly unable to do his because he lived ‘in a camper van in a supermarket car park’. He didn’t mention whether it was Tesco or Waitrose.

And finally...

If you’re going to make excuses, don’t pick one that’s guaranteed to rub the Inland Revenue up the wrong way. Like this corker – ‘I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land.’

* If you need help filing your tax return, get in touch on 0845 308 1454 or email