The results are in…
Ever since the summer of 2010 when a study conducted by DYMO released findings that the fairer sex are the most organised in an office environment, they have held the deservedly attained title well, putting men to shame in the disorganised rubble they call their working lives.
Following a recent publication, womankind has established yet another title for their trophy cabinet over the male gender, this time emerging victors of the HMRC dubbed 'the battle of the taxes'. "How can there be a winner when it comes to tax", I hear the male audience cry in jealousy, "surely everybody loses". Well dear men, the answer may well be heavily linked to the lost battle of 2010. Statistics published by HMRC in respect of 2013 tax return filing show that for every 10,000 tax returns filed last year by men, 394 returns were received after the relevant deadline (31 October for paper submissions, 31 January for online returns). This stacks up against 358 late returns for every 10,000 received from women.
"Recount!” is the heckle I hear from a male reader stunned by the gender gap, but the numbers do not lie. Not only observing differences between the genders, the report details filing behaviour between age ranges, and industries. People aged 18 to 20 should learn from their elders it seems, late teens proved to be the worst age range for filing returns on time, simply outclassed by the punctuality of those aged 65 and over.
Turning to industry, the agriculture, fishing and forestry sector beat lawyers and accountants to the title as the most filing savvy. Indeed, there is an old case involving an accountant appealing late penalties imposed on him by HMRC. His defence was that he was too busy in January completing his client's tax returns to complete his own… unsurprisingly, the appeal was unsuccessful.
HMRC have not let the competition lie there, continuing to add fire to regional banter by declaring Northern Ireland the most punctual region within the United Kingdom, followed by Wales, then England, with Scotland holding up the rear.
This message, as to be expected, was followed by a statement from HMRC's Director General of Personal Tax Ruth Owen, reminding the public at large that if their 2013-14 tax return is not yet filed with HMRC, you need to take action now.
Ruth Owen, I whole heartedly concur. Teenagers, less selfies, more self assessments. Scotland, to ensure a victory over the English, get your tax returns in before Robbie Burns. And finally, Men. This is our chance. For too long has our trophy cabinet held dust and dreams of a victory over the fairer sex. Let us get our tax details to our accountant, and file our tax returns on time in the very hope that maybe, just maybe, we might emerge victorious next year.