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The worst excuses for missing tax deadlines

As business owners, we all know that there are tax deadlines we have to meet. Admittedly, the last twelve months have been an exception given the extensions due to Covid-19 but in a ‘normal’ year, it has to be done.  

It’s easy to forget or bury your head. It’s not a nice job (unless you’re a Bookkeeper or Accountant) and let’s face it, it’s not what you signed up to do when you started your business.  

Keeping track of tax deadlines is one of the most important things you can do in business. If you have a bad memory, stick a big red mark on the calendar a month before, a week before and the day before. Then you really don’t have an excuse.  

But despite the use of technology and calendar reminders, many still miss tax deadlines.  

In some cases, they have a valid reason and there are circumstances that HMRC will accept but in the main, there aren’t many excuses that won’t get you slapped with a big fat penalty fine.  

Yet many have tried and failed. HMRC have heard every excuse in the world and some, quite frankly, are outrageous (we’re only jealous that we didn’t think of them first). 

So, on the 1st anniversary of the first UK lockdown being announced, we thought we would share some of the funniest excuses to make you smile.  

1 – “I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal”  

2 – “My dog ate the post” 

3 – “My hamster ate my post” 

3 – “I’ve been cruising around the world in my yacht and only picking up post when I’m on dry land” 

4 – A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the deck – in a bowls club! 

5 – My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me 

6 – “I fell in with the wrong crowd” 

7 – “I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency” 

8 – “My ex-wife left the tax return upstairs and I cannot retrieve it because I suffer from vertigo 

9 – “I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs” 

10 – “A work colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy and didn’t give it back” 

11 – “My girlfriend’s pregnant” 

12 – “I live in a campervan in a supermarket car park” 

13 – “I was in Australia” 

There you have it. A wonderful array of the perfect excuses. To be honest, we think some of them should have gotten away with it, even just for inventiveness. (Not really). 

In all seriousness, there are some reasonable excuses that HMRC would consider. For example, 

  • HMRC online issues 
  • A faulty laptop 
  • Serious illness, physical or mental 
  • Registering with HMRC but not receiving your activation code in time.  

Other than that, you’re pretty much stuck with the deadlines and the fines you will receive if you submit them late.  

What are the penalties for late submission? 

1 day = £100 fine 

3 months = £10 a day up to a maximum of £900 (90 days) for every date it’s late 

6 months = £300 fine or 5% of the tax due, whichever is greater 

12 months = Another £300 or 5% of the tax you owe, whichever is greater.  

Bottom line? Don’t miss a tax deadline for any reason. If you’re struggling and need help, then it’s time to outsource it to a Bookkeeping expert.  

If you need us, all you have to do is ASBK 

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