HMRC employs farmyard ducks to ‘niggle’ taxpayers

Risking the accusation that the taxman himself has gone quackers, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has employed some farmyard ducks to encourage people to file their tax returns on time.

The online and billboard adverts feature a man in the bath, being niggled by a duck.

Instead of quacking, the duck repeats the word "tax".

HMRC confirmed that real ducks posed for the photos, before being retired to a bird sanctuary in Oxfordshire.

"With the January 31 deadline edging closer we want to help remind our customers to get it done so they can alleviate that niggling feeling, ensuring they can relax and not have to worry about doing their tax return," explained Angela MacDonald, HMRC's director general for customer services.


In the meantime HMRC revealed that more than 16,000 people spent part of their Christmas filing a tax return:

  • On Christmas Eve 6,033 completed a return, including 92 between 11pm and midnight.
  • On Christmas Day 2,590 sent in a return
  • On Boxing Day 7,655 sent a return

Eleven million people in the UK need to file self-assessment tax returns – including those who are self-employed or who have significant savings income.

Those who fail to complete a return by 31 January face an automatic fine of £100. After that interest is charged on late payments.

Anyone who wants to pay their bill through their PAYE code must complete a return by 30 December.

Earlier this month HMRC announced plans to phase out fines for one-off offenders, although this will not be in place for several years.

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