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Tax Deadline Dilemma

In the words of Benjamin Franklin – ‘the only things certain in life are death and taxes', and in today's society don't we just know it! But as the deadline looms the stress of completing a tax return can be difficult to handle. Every year HMRC is inundated with returns, but not all of them are on time, complete or even filed at all. This year, they have published their findings about exactly what kind of person files on time, files late and even what industry they work in. So in the run up to the deadline, we are giving you some insight into tax returns, and what you stand to lose if you forget to file on time.


07 January 2015
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Late Tax Return Culprits

  • Women are more likely to fill in their tax return on time. Last year, for every 10,000 tax returns filed by men 394 were filed late, compared to 358 of every 10,000 received from women.

  • If you are between 18 and 20, you are statistically more likely to file your tax return late. Over 1080 returns from this age group were filed late last year, whereas filers over the age of 65 mostly filed on time.

  • There are industries that typically file late or on time. Generally, workers within the fishing, forestry and agricultural industries meet the deadline on time, with just a small number filing late.

  • However if you work in the information and communications industry you are at the top of the HMRC's late filing list - with over 290 of every 10,000 returns filed late.


The government have been making a concerted effort to let people know about the penalties you could face if you don't file your assessment on time,

If you're 1 day late... you could face a £100 fine.

If you're 3 months late... you will be fined the £100 above, plus another £10 for every day you are late past that deadline. That could add up to a potential £900 in fines.

If you're 6 months late... you will incur all of the penalties above, plus another £300, or 5% of the tax due on your return (whichever is the higher amount).

Some Of Our Favourite Excuses...

Of course, every year there are a wide variety of excuses people use for not filing their assessments on time. Each year they also seem to get more creative, so we wanted to share with you the 10 most bizarre excuses HMRC received for late filing last year.

  • My dog/cat/rabbit ate my return, and all the reminder notices.

  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn't find a post box or get an internet signal.

  • I fell in with the wrong crowd.

  • I've been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.

  • Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.

  • I've been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.

  • A colleague borrowed my form to photocopy and never gave it back.

  • My girlfriend is pregnant

  • I was in Australia

The truth is that while there may be some very reasonable excuses for missing the self-assessment tax return deadline, they need to be reasonable ones. You can appeal to HMRC against some late penalties if you have a reasonable excuse (like a sudden death in the family or an unexpected hospital visit), but each case is treated individually. To avoid the heavy fines associated with missing the tax return deadline, you need to act now. If you need any advice or help with filing your tax return, please contact our tax lawyers for a no obligation consultation by filling in our contact form.