Millions Still To File Tax Returns Only Days From Deadline

Around 3.6 million people are still to file their personal tax returns – even though the deadline is just a few days away.

HM Revenue & Customs says they are expecting the returns and tax payments to come in before time runs out at midnight on January 31.

Every year, around 11 million are expected to file a tax return – and a third leave the job to the last minute.

Some are expected to receive a surprise when paying their tax bills, as HMRC no longer accepts personal credit cards.

Astonishing excuses

HMRC says taxpayers with a reasonable excuse can escape automatic fines for non-filing, but issued a media release with a string of unacceptable explanations made last year by late filers.

One taxpayer complained he could not file his return because his ‘wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house’.

Another told HMRC officials he was too busy touring with a one-man play to send in his paperwork.

Others regularly say they have spilt tea or coffee on their paper returns or explain their businesses failed to make a profit.

An imaginative excuse came from a man who claimed his former wife had left his self-assessment return upstairs in his home, and he could not retrieve the documents because he suffered from vertigo.

Same meal for 250 days

HMRC also rejected some odd business expenses, including:

  • A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts
  • Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub
  • Vet fees for a rabbit
  • Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco
  • £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens. However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.

“We also receive absurd expense claims from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel. It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people’s spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims such as legitimate expenses for a job.”

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