With the deadline for self-assessment tax returns approaching, people everywhere are shaking off the excesses of Christmas and buckling down to some serious paper work.
But what if you miss the deadline? Surely the taxman will understand…?
A £100 fine suggests not, although apparently the taxman does have a sense of humour when it comes to excuses.
Here are HMRC’s ten favorite excuses for late tax returns:
l I had a run-in with a cow – Midlands based farmer
l After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else – Anon
l My wife won’t give me my mail – self-employed trader
l My husband told me the deadline was the 31st – Leicester based hairdresser
l I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play – Coventry based writer
lMy bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is – working taxi-driver
l I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land – South-East based businessman
lI’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns – London-based accountant
For various reasons some people do get in a pickle with tax-returns, however not many as high profile as actor Wesley Snipes.
The Blade star was sentenced to three years in prison in April 2008 for “wilfully failing to file a tax return”.
Despite character references from friends, including Denzel Washington and Woody Harrelson, the US prosecutors, the IRS, accused Snipes of failing to file a tax return for three years during which he was alleged to have earned over $13.8 million (£8.5 million). Snipes began serving his sentence at the end of 2010 and was released in April 2013.
So, the moral of the story is don’t delay any longer and submit what you need to by the end of January.