Tax Advice

Christmas is all wrapped up - now it's time to unwrap your tax return

05 Jan 2016

The festive season is over, the New Year fireworks have long since faded, so now it’s time for small business directors and sole traders to turn to the serious January business of the dreaded self-assessment tax return.

Sole traders, the self-employed, company directors and anyone earning extra income over and above a full-time salary needs to complete a self-assessment tax return by 31st January, detailing their income during the 2014/15 tax year.

Self Assessment Tax ReturnHMRC can issue fines of £100 if returns are up to three months late, or more for longer delays.

There are few acceptable excuses for late filing or non-payment. HMRC won’t accept if you say the return was too difficult, or if you didn’t get a reminder.

Here are some of the (many) excuses HMRC has rejected during appeals against fines:

  • My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
  • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox 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.

Chris Conway


Managing Director, Accountant & Corporate Finance Specialist

0207 043 4000

About the author

Chris joined Accounts and Legal as Managing Director in November 2015. Chris’s primary role is ensuring the firm runs smoothly on a daily basis, supporting the growth of its entrepreneurial clients and delivering the firm’s own ambitious growth objectives. 

Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) in general practice with a Top 20 firm in 2010, Chris quickly chose to specialise in corporate finance. During his 5 years Chris worked on over 70 transactions involving SME’s, from company valuations and restructures to substantial equity and debt fundraisings. He also advised on the sale and purchases of businesses, both to trade buyers and financial investors, providing advisory and due diligence services.


We can help you grasp opportunities


If you’re self-employed and thinking of starting a business, we can help plan ahead and get your accounts in order. We are full-service accountants offering tax and accounting support from bookkeeping to business plans, and payroll to tax-efficient investment advice.


Call us today or get an instant quote for our services!