There's one week left to file your online tax return

24 January 2017

If you’re filling your tax return online, you’ve got one week left to get everything sorted or face severe fines.

Those who need to submit a tax return for the 2015/16 tax year are generally the self-employed and anybody who earns extra income on the side that isn’t paid through a company pay as you earn (PAYE) scheme.

You may also need to submit a return if:

  • You’ve received more than £2,500 in untaxed income in the last year.
  • You get more than £10,000 from savings or investment income (excluding Isas).
  • You’ve sold investments that are liable for capital gains tax, for example, a buy to let property, or investments that don’t sit within an Isa or pension.
  • You’ve received income from outside the UK.
  • You’ve lived abroad while receiving an income from the UK.
  • You’ve been notified by HMRC that you’ve underpaid your taxes in previous years.
  • You’re a parent with an income over £50,000 and you’re also receiving child tax credits.
  • You’re a higher-rate taxpayer with a pension – as some employers only claim basic tax relief for you, you’ll need to claim higher rate relief yourself.


You can’t file for the 2015/16 tax year by paper as the deadline has long passed - it was 31 October 2016. However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that from 2020, all tax returns will need completing online.

A big boy did it and ran away

Tiny ties, 10p Freddos and ridiculous excuses – ideals everybody should have left behind at school. But when it comes to excuses, this isn’t always the case.

The government has released some of the “more unusual excuses” from people who are organisationally weak and don’t return their self-assessment on time. Here are some of our favourites:

  • “My tax return was on my yacht… which caught fire.”
  • “A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed.”
  • “My dog ate my tax return… and all of the reminders.”


On this subject, Ruth Owen, HMRC director of general customer services, says: “Blaming the postman, arguing with family members and pesky insects – it’s easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others.  Luckily, it’s only a small minority who chance their arm.”

However, she also adds that: “But there will always be help and support available for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now - the earlier we’re contacted, the better.”

On a similar theme, the government has also published the "optimistic Self Assessment expense claims," some of which are:

  • "Armani jeans as protective clothing for painter and decorator"
  • "Underwear - for personal use"
  • "Betting slips"



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