Are you one of the 3 million who haven’t submitted their tax return yet?

man running in a hurry looking at his watch while carrying paper files

With just one week to go, HMRC stated that more than 3 million people still hadn’t filed their self-assessment tax return. Are you one of them?


Deadline is looming

The deadline for completing the tax returns online is 11.59pm on Friday 31 January.

If you are worried that you won’t be able to complete your tax return by the deadline, then it is essential to contact HMRC as soon as possible.

There is a Self-Assessment Helpline which you can contact on 0300 200 3310.

Between 30 January, and 31 January, the phone helplines will shut at 8pm. However, you can still contact HMRC via Webchat until midnight both days.

You can get further guidance on completing your self-assessment on the website here.



HMRC report that 11.7 million people are required to complete a self-assessment tax return, and there are penalties for people not submitting the information by the deadline.

The penalties that can be imposed are:

  • an initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time
  • after three months, additional penalties of £10 per day may be charged, up to a maximum of £900
  • after six months, a further penalty of 5% of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • after 12 months, another 5% or £300 charge, whichever is greater.


There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.


Do you have a genuine excuse?

While HMRC will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as they focus their penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders. The excuse must be legitimate and HMRC may ask for evidence.

HMRC has released a list of most bizarre excuses and questionable expenses claims for items that they have received from people who missed the deadline over the last ten years. All those listed below were all declined on the basis that they were either untrue or not good enough reasons.


  • Caravan rental for the Easter weekend
  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal
  • My dog ate the post … again
  • Claiming £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days
  • My hamster ate my post
  • I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land
  • A music subscription so I can listen to music while I work
  • Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’
  • A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the deck….in a bowls club
  • My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me


While these are amusing, don’t run the risk of incurring a penalty yourself, submit your self-assessment tax return before 11.59pm on Friday 31 January.


Further information

If you found this information useful, you may also want to check out the following:


MRA specialise in business solutions and are Life Centred Business Consultants based in East Sussex we service clients across the South East, Sussex and Kent, including smaller towns such as Ashford, Battle, Bexhill, Bodiam, Brighton & Hove, Cranbrook, Crowborough, Eastbourne, Hailsham, Hastings, Heathfield, Herstmonceux, Lewes, Mayfield, Newhaven, Rye, Seaford, Sevenoaks, Tenterden, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.