'I had a run-in with a cow' - top ten excuses for late tax returns!

HMRC have revealed the ‘top ten oddest excuses’ for late tax returns. Among the reasons people have given for sending in their returns late include a self-employed builder who blamed the death of a goldfish and a woman who blamed a volcanic eruption.

The list is as follows:

1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder);
2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer);
3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman);
4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader);
5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser);
6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer);
7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver);
8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man);
9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm); and
10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).

All of these taxpayers received a £100 penalty from (HMRC) for filing late and whilst they tried to appeal against the decision, their excuses were seen as unreasonable and they were unsuccessful.

HMRC are human and they do acknowledge exceptional circumstances when a “reasonable excuse” may exist, but these are rare and the best advice is to file your Self Assessment Return and pay the tax you owe by the 31 January 2014, to avoid any late filing penalties. Remember a late filing penalty applies for a late return even if you have no tax bill.

Orange Genie Accountancy can help your file your return if you have not already done so. Contact one of our specialist accountants now to avoid unnecessary penalties.

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