The deadline for submitting self-assessment returns and paying tax for 2017-18 is upon us. If you are reading this after 31 January, hopefully, your return is filed and tax is paid?
HMRC have recently posted a rather humorous take on the excuses that tax payers have cited for late filing of returns. The post includes odd claims for expenses. We have included a summary of the following in our newsfeed this week. Here’s what HMRC said:
Most of our customers complete their tax returns honestly and on time but every year HMRC receives some outlandish excuses and expense claims.
Some of the most bizarre excuses HMRC received from customers who missed the Self-Assessment deadline include being too short to reach the post box and having fingers too cold to type. Here are some of the strangest from the past year:
- My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
- I’m too short to reach the post box
- I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn
- Our junior member of staff registered our client in Self-Assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses
- My boiler had broken, and my fingers were too cold to type
As well as unbelievable excuses [for late filing of returns] every year we also receive some dubious expenses claims for unconvincing items like woolly underwear and pet insurance for a dog. Some of the most questionable include:
- A carpenter claiming £900 for a 55-inch TV and sound bar to help him price his jobs
- £40 on extra woolly underwear, for 5 years
- £756 for my pet dog insurance
- A music subscription, so I can listen to music while I work
- A family holiday to Nigeria
All these excuses and expense claims were unsuccessful.
Readers will be aware that there are penalties for late submission of tax returns. Being ever helpful HMRC posted the following summary for the benefit of “customers”
The deadline for sending 2017-18 Self-Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2019.
HMRC will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as we focus our penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders. 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.
Customers who provide HMRC with a reasonable excuse before the 31 January deadline can avoid a penalty after this date.
The penalties for late tax returns are:
- an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
- after 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
- after 6 months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
- after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater
There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.