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Funniest Excuses for not doing your tax return...and how to get it done on time

Updated: Oct 12

I'm not sure that we've ever met anyone who enjoys doing their own self assessment tax return. It is one of those tasks that will ultimately get delayed to the last minute and many, many people often file late which results in horrendously high fines.


HMRC are not very lenient at all when it comes to filing late and are very unlikely to accept most reasons, even if they do sound completely legit to ourselves and family members.


Just to be on the safe side, here are some of the funniest excuses that have actually been used by people for filing late...and surprisingly... were not accepted by HMRC!


  1. My mother in law is a witch and put a curse on me



Ah... the good old mother-in-law ruined my life excuse...unfortunately, whilst the peeps at HMRC may secretly empathise with you on that one, they can't accept it as a legit excuse for not filing your return on time...they will simply give it the stamp of 'its accrual world' and will add to your misery with a fine.



2. I was up a mountain in Wales and couldn't get an Internet signal




We understand how daunting your self assessment can be, and how crazy it can get trying to crunch all the numbers and make things...ahem...add up on excel, but even escaping to a mountain won't get you out of it.


However, doing your self assessment can be a bit like climbing a mountain, its a lot easier if you've been preparing well, you have everything ready when you need it and you have an experienced guide with you.


We can help you with all of these things and will explain them further in this article.



3. My dog/hamster ate the post




The fact is, it didn't work when were children, it definitely won't work for children now and it certainly won't work with HMRC...


So, how do you prepare for and submit your tax return on time, every time?





Here are our top tips:


  1. Do small things as you go along, so it doesn't all pile up later.

It is a proven thing that we are better at doing small manageable tasks than we are at attempting large tasks that feel like a huge burden. So when it comes to your finances, do a little bit either daily or weekly.


What should you be doing?

Write down your expenses as soon as you can. There are plenty of spreadsheet and bookkeeping apps that you can get for your mobile. As soon as you make a purchase related to your business either enter it onto your phone manually, or get one of those whizzy apps where you simply scan the receipt and it does everything for you.


If you are not a tech fan, hire yourself a part time bookkeeper and text him/her every time you make a purchase and they will keep your records up to date for you.


Honestly get into the habit of doing things straight away, in 6 months time, your future self will thank you :)


2. Have someone look over your numbers, by someone we mean an experienced accountant or bookkeeper. They will usually be able to help you understand what can be claimed as expenses and where you can save yourself some money.


3. Don't bury your head in the sand. If you feel like its too late to start doing these things or are simply feeling too stressed and overwhelmed, its ok. Take a deep breath and don't worry about your past transactions.


You can start with today so that at least from here onwards, things will be more organised. For your past transactions and any late returns, its probably best to get help. It will save you time and you will be surprised at how quickly a good accountant will be able to sort out your paperwork and get some good looking accounts together. Most often they will save you a lot of money that you would have paid in fines or taxes.



We hope this article has helped you better understand how to get your self assessment tax return done on time and perhaps take a bit of the pain out of doing it. If you do need help, please do get in touch. We are qualified, experienced, but most of all very human accountants who understand your pain.




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