by David Watkinson www.watkinsonblack.co.uk
It is that time of year again – the accountant’s New Year. The annual maelstrom of the tax return deadline has passed.
I have enjoyed my usual celebratory double scotch (I wonder whether I can get away with claiming tax relief on that either as annual tax free employee entertainment or alternatively as wholly and exclusively incurred in maintaining my sanity?) followed by a few days break. And guess what! The tax office have now published the top 6 ridiculous excuses of the decade provided by taxpayers for not submitting their tax returns on time.
Unsurprisingly, these excuses did not succeed, but it is no wonder that the taxpayer tried it on. Not submitting your tax return on time can prove very expensive in automatic penalties. An immediate penalty of £100 is imposed on 1st February. From 1st May if the return remains outstanding then daily penalties of £10 are imposed, up to a maximum of 90 days (or £900). On 1st August, a further penalty of £300 is charged, followed by a further penalty of £300 on the following 1st February. These last two penalties will be increased to 5% of the tax payable if that is greater. That is a total of at least £1,600 even if no tax is payable.
So what are these top 6 excuses?
In first place is the enchanting excuse that the taxpayer’s mother-in-law was a witch and put a curse on him to stop him completing his tax return. Enchanting, but not enchanting enough for the tax office.
In second place is an excuse that might be considered a little more specialist. It was advanced by the DJ at his local bowls club who found himself too busy spinning the discs and living the party lifestyle. The taxman wasn’t exactly bowled over.
Equally exclusive, in third place is the taxpayer who was sailing aboard his luxury yacht and could only pick up the post when he found himself in port. However, this is another excuse that didn’t float with the taxman.
More mundane were numbers four and five, both of which were perennial and involved the family pets eating the return. The taxpayers blamed, respectively, their hamsters and their dogs. Unfortunately, the taxman was not hooked.
And finally, in sixth place, was the rambling plea made by the taxpayer who found himself high on a Welsh mountain and who was apparently unable to find a post-box or get an internet signal. Unfortunately for him he found out that he was due for a fall.
The moral? Don’t ignore the taxman. He tends to take umbrage.
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