For those of us who are less organised, perhaps prone to procrastination or always leave things to the last minute, we nevertheless have to turn our attention to the annual task of filling in our Self Assessment tax return and ensuring it gets to HMRC by 31st January to avoid a late filing penalty. Sometimes, however, there are valid reasons for not being able to file a tax return on time but an individual must be able to prove that they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to avoid the £100 fine.
‘Reasonable excuse’ is not defined by legislation but the following may constitute such for the purposes of a late filed tax return:
The following won’t be accepted as a reasonable excuse:
Some folk however attempt to stretch the boundaries of ‘reasonable excuse’ and some of the most recent frivolous and amusing excuses include:
All of these were used in unsuccessful appeals against late filing penalties.
Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said:
“Blaming the postman, arguing with family members and pesky insects – it’s easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others. Luckily, it’s only a small minority who chance their arm.”
For those of you who are still to file their 2016 tax return, don’t leave it to the last minute as another excuse that also failed was, “my internet connection failed.” This does appear a little curious when some of the acceptable reasonable excuses are associated with technological failure. On that note, I must get on with my own return!