If you’re a business owner or self-employed, tax returns can feel like an annoying chore.
However, failing to file your tax return with the first 3 months of the deadline results in a £100 penalty with an increased fine of £10 per day after that for up to 90 days (that’s £900!). This is then followed by further penalties at 6 and 12 months after the deadline, meaning you could end up owing hundreds or even thousands in fines, regardless of how much tax you need to pay.
Around 870,000 taxpayers missed the 2016 deadline and paid the £100 fine, plus extra penalties in some cases.
With the HMRC self-assessment deadline approaching on Jan 31st, here’s some of the worst excuses for failing to file tax returns on time…
1. My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
2. I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
3. My husband ran over my laptop
4. I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years
5. A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed
6. My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days
7. I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant
8. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)
9. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)
10. I’ve been cruising round the world on my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)
11. I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal
12. I fell in with the wrong crowd
Whilst these excuses are (quite frankly) hilarious, it’s important not to take a leaf out of these peoples’ book and make sure you file your return on time to avoid expensive fines and the stress of having your business financials in bad working order.
In order to file your tax return on time, there are some simple steps you can take:
- Set monthly reminders on your calendar so you have plenty of time.
- If you have several employers you need one or more of these:
- P60 (for income through PAYE)
- P45 (for previous employment)
- P11d (for benefits from your employer)
- For the self-employed:
- Evidence of income
- Evidence of expenses (to claim tax relief) make sure you have all the correct documents
- If you choose to file your assessment online, it’s recommended that you do it before the day of the deadline in order to give yourself time to contact HMRC in the even of any technical issues
- If you’re unsure of anything, seek advice or hire an accountant to do it for you