The top 10 worst excuses for missing the tax return deadline revealed

5th January 2015

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Many have urged that it was someone else’s fault – girlfriends, pets, work colleagues and even the leader of the free world have been named and blamed for taxpayers’ tardiness.

All of the above were used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late filing and payment. Here’s the full list:

1. My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.

2. I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal.

3. I fell in with the wrong crowd.

4. I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.

5. Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.

6. I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.

7. A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.

8. I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.

9. My girlfriend’s pregnant.

10. I was in Australia.

Commenting the on the outrageous excuses, HMRC director general of personal tax, Ruth Owen, said: “People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them.”

You need to file your 2013/14 tax return online, and pay what you owe, by 31 January. But it’s best to do it now, to allow plenty of time to sort out any issues with your return. That way, you’ll avoid the busy period for our phone lines as the deadline approaches.

All outstanding 2013/14 tax returns must now be submitted online, as the 31 October paper-filing deadline has passed. To send an online tax return, you must be registered for HMRC Online Services. This involves HMRC sending you an Activation Code in the post, and you need to allow 10 days for it to arrive.

Advice on Self Assessment can be found at HMRC’s new Facebook page. Help and advice on filing your return – including how to register for online filing – is also available from the GOV.UK website or the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturday).

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