Self-assessors get creative about missing the tax deadline

The taxman has countered a promise he’ll be “lenient” with this month's self-assessors by sharing a few excuses that just won’t fly -- even if one taxpayer’s relative apparently can.

In fact, having forgot to file his form, one taxpayer said he should not receive a late penalty because, “My mother-in-law is a witch, and put a curse on me.”  

Summoning the more mundane, another taxpayer who missed the deadline tried to explain it away to HMRC: “My boiler had broken, and my fingers were too cold to type.”

Excuses from offline taxpayers also played on the taxman’s sympathies, and his need to uphold human rights, as one taxpayer squeaked: “I’m too short to reach the post box.”

Another blamed their late tax return on the help -- or lack of. “I was just too busy -- my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn.”

And a seemingly late-filing accountant blamed the new kid: “Our junior member of staff registered our client in self-assessment by mistake," the accountant said, "because they were not wearing their glasses.”

HMRC’s Angela MacDonald said that poor excuses, no matter how “weird and wonderful”, were “unfair” to the majority of honest taxpayers.

“[We] will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as we focus our penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns”, HMRC said, pointing to the January 31st deadline.

“The excuse must be genuine and we might ask for evidence. Those listed above were all declined on the basis that they were either untrue or not good enough reasons.”

 

24th January 2019

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