Appealing against a penalty…..What is a reasonable excuse?

The penalties have started to drop onto the mat of the people who missed the 2016-17 deadline. If your one of these people you may be hoping to get this wiped.

Before I start explaining to you what reasonable excuses are, none of these will help if you still haven’t filed your tax return. So firstly get that done… NOW!

As your probably aware, the deadline for the Self-assessment is the 31st January after the end of the tax year. This gives people 9 months to get their paperwork processed and chase up statements to ensure everything is in. So if your paperwork is messy get it to your accountant throughout the year, rather than leaving until the deadline.

What is a reasonable excuse?

So what exactly is a reasonable excuse? There are no precise rules written into legislation or defined by case law. However, generally, a reasonable excuse is when something happens outside of your control. Like for instance HMRC system failure or strikes. You may also have a reasonable excuse if you or a close family member has an illness making you incapable of filing your return.

What is not reasonable?

Being forgetful, ignorance of the law and similar none descript reasons are not acceptable grounds for appeal. HMRC have shared the top 10 worst excuses below:

• My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.

• I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal.

• I fell in with the wrong crowd.

• I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.

• Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.

• I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.

• A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.

• I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.

• My girlfriend’s pregnant.

• I was in Australia.

So now you know what needs to be done, and what not to do, get it done 🙂

If you need help with this or anything else get in touch with Nicola from MEND Accounting Ltd 07928 765 320


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