Landlords who fail to file their returns by January 31 can expect a tough time from HM Revenue & Customs.
Missing the midnight deadline can be expensive, even if landlords have no tax to pay as the charges start to rack up from one minute past midnight.
Not completing an online self-assessment form means an automatic £100 fine unless the taxpayer can present a reasonable excuse.
The trouble is what is reas0onable is not explained in tax law and is down to the tax inspector to decide.
Some taxpayers have offered flimsy excuses for their failings – like mourning a dead goldfish and not being able to collect the post from their wife after separation.
In reality, a reasonable excuse is a close bereavement or serious illness.
HMRC director general of personal tax, Ruth Owen said: ‘There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.
‘If you haven’t yet sent your 2012 to 2013 tax return to HMRC, you need to do it online and pay the tax you owe by the end of January. With all the help and advice available, there’s no excuse not to’.
A popular excuse for not filing on time is waiting for missing figures, but HMRC advises putting in an estimate and noting on the return that the correct figures will be supplied as soon as they are available.
HMRC is also warning first-time filers to make sure they have registered for the online self-assessment service by January 21 at the latest.
“The process takes at least a week as a PIN number to allow access to the network is sent out by post,” said a spokesman. “We cannot guarantee the PIN will arrive on time, so we suggest everyone applies with plenty of time to spare.”
To register, go to the HMRC web site