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Self-assessment deadline: the clock is ticking

When it comes to people missing tax deadlines, we've heard some crazy excuses over the years. But that's nothing compared to what HMRC has to deal with.

This year's list of top 10 terrible tax excuses is pretty spectacular. Here it is in full:

  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.

Of course, missing the self-assessment deadline is no laughing matter. Even if you really did hire the US president as your accountant, it isn't going to cut the mustard with the taxman if your tax return is late. The bottom line is: if you miss the deadline, you'd better have a good excuse.

Acceptable excuses

But what qualifies as a good excuse?

According to the government, you must have been prevented from submitting your tax return by circumstances beyond your control for it to qualify as a reasonable excuse. For example:

  • your partner died shortly before the deadline
  • you unexpectedly had to go to hospital
  • your computer prevented you from submitting your tax return
  • you experienced issues with HMRC's online services.

Unless you're unfortunate enough to have any of these things happen to you, HMRC is probably not going to look too kindly on a late return.

Don't forget the 31 January deadline

Time is running out until the self-assessment deadline. Make sure you don't leave it until the last minute. Contact us on 01628 631056, fill out our contact form or email geoffk@knightandcompany.co.uk to discuss your situation.