With the tax return deadline fast approaching, some taxpayers encounter issues which cause delays in filing their self-assessment. However, others encounter more dubious delays. From the funny to the ridiculous, we’ve collected some of our favourite excuses along with some simple Do’s and Don’ts to follow when submitting your tax return.
Don’t use ridiculous excuses for late submission
As a general rule of thumb, all expenses must be incurred “wholly and exclusively” for business purposes. So, it’s no wonder HMRC declined these excuses for filing late:
- “I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post-box or get internet signal.”
- “My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type.”
- “I’m too short to reach the post-box.”
- “Our business doesn’t really do anything.”
- “I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns.”
- “I had a run-in with a cow.”
- “My wife was seeing aliens and wouldn’t let me in the house.”
- “My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me.”
Help is available to those with a genuine excuse
Sometimes life events can happen that are out of your control and can affect your ability to file your tax return on time. It is possible to appeal certain penalties incurred as a result of late submission, as long as you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. Reasonable excuses can include:
- An unplanned hospital stay
- The death of a partner
- Service disruptions on behalf of HMRC
Do complete and submit your 2018/19 self-assessment in good time
Completing and submitting your tax return can seem daunting, but having it prepared and filed in advance of the January deadline will make your life a lot easier. There is always a large influx of submissions after Christmas and around the 30th/31st of January which puts a lot of strain on HMRC’s systems and can cause delays in submission. We strongly recommend you file early and avoid the rush!
Avoid these common mistakes made in tax returns
Remember to double check your return before submission as any errors could potentially lead to financial penalties or cause further scrutiny from HMRC. Here are some common mistakes often made on tax returns:
- Using the wrong tax code
- Getting your National Insurance number wrong
- Incorrect pension contributions
- Not including interest on income
- To claim or not to claim tax relief
- Not keeping accurate records and being unable to support your submissions
If you’ve made a mistake on your tax return correct it as soon as possible
Self-assessments can be confusing, especially if it’s your first time submitting one. If you realise you’ve made a mistake it is possible to amend it, even after it has been submitted. Corrections must be made by the year after the filing deadline for the tax year you want to amend. For example:
- For the 2017-2018 tax year, amendments must be made by 31st January 2020
If you miss the deadline you must contact HMRC. More information can be found here.
The way you correct will your tax return will depend on how you filed your self-assessment. If you submitted it online you can log into your account and make the corrections and file it again. If you filed your return on paper, you’ll need to download a new version of the return and send HMRC the corrected pages. Each page you wish to make corrections to must state ‘Amendment’, along with your name and Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR).
Stuck with your return? Enlist the help of our expert Personal Tax team
With the 31st January deadline looming and Christmas just around the corner, it’s best to file your 2018/19 self-assessment sooner rather than later. Rushing to get it done at the last minute can result in you making mistakes or missing the deadline and incurring a £100 penalty that increases over time.
Our expert Personal Tax team has completed over 20,000 Tax Returns since 1998. They will take care of the whole process for you from completing the forms to calculating your tax refund or liability. This will leave you free to enjoy Christmas in the knowledge that your self-assessment tax return will be filed correctly and on time. Give them a call on 01707 818635 to get started.