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Jan 4, 2008, 09:55 AM
Authors : Allison
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Post date : Jan 4, 2008, 09:55 AM
It's amazing isn't it, how everyone loathes filling in their tax returns. It must be one of the most tedious and annoying jobs that we have to do and tends to fall off the bottom of my 'to do' list regularly. This is why I end up completing the wretched thing at midnight on 30 January each year.
It is equally amazing that HMRC simply don't get this. Whenever I talk to HMRC press office about tax return deadlines, they trot out the old story, 'but people have had nine months to do their return, they should have done it earlier'. Perlease! I can only assume that HMRC people a) don't have to complete returns themselves, and/or b) never meet real people.
At various parties over Christmas and new year, when tragically the conversation has turned to tax (why?), friends have told me that they haven't even completed their tax returns for 2005-06, let alone 2006-07, and they don't seem to care! Quel horreur! After spluttering into my canape/glass of champagne/mince pie, as a self-respecting tax journalist, I ask them 'why?' The answer invariably is that they don't owe the taxman anything, in fact he probably owes them, and so what is the point of meeting an arbitrary deadline?
While of course not condoning such inaction, I have to say that they do have a point. The £100 penalty doesn't apply if no tax is due or if it is less than £100, so why bother to send in the form? It has been mooted in official circles that the penalty should apply regardless of whether tax is payable or not. I have a better solution.
If HMRC sent me a (large) box of chocolates as a reward for sending in my return, I might just get around to doing it sooner.
But then again.

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