Are there any reasons why I can legitimately file my tax return late?

The online tax return deadline is midnight 31 January 2020 so if you haven’t yet submitted it or even thought about submitting it, act now.

Every year, HMRC publish their most ridiculous excuses for late tax returns. Here are some from 2019:

My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me… I’m too short to reach the post box…

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.

Top failed self-employed expenses claims were just as ludicrous and included:

A carpenter claiming £900 for a TV and sound bar to help him price his jobs…

£756 for pet dog insurance… A family holiday to Nigeria.

Of course there will always be some genuine reasons for missing the deadline and HMRC themselves say “We want to make it as simple as possible for our customers to do their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time. But each year we still come across some poor excuses.

“Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.”

If you are struggling to meet the tax return deadline, get in touch now. Unless you have a genuine excuse you will incur a fine if you file your return late.

For more advice and help with your tax returns get in touch.


This article is for general guidance only. It provides an outline, and may not include points which are important to your situation. You should not depend on this blog without taking advice based on the full facts of your case. The information given was correct at the time of publication.

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