If you are trying to file a paper tax return by 31 October you may be pipped by the on-going postal dispute.

Yesterday, various members of the House of Lords urged taxpayers to file their tax returns by hand (obviously, some are unaware of the scale of HMRC's latest round of office closures). Failing that, they suggest that you obtain a proof of posting certificate if you are posting a tax return in the next few days. This will not help those who have already put their returns in the post. Postal delays have been reported throughout the country for the past two months.

The Chartered Institute of Taxation has been the first of the tax bodies to publicly ask HMRC to extend the 31 October filing deadline. HMRC has been lenient in the past and it is expected to act according to evidence of strike action by postal workers.

Alternatively, you can file a return electonically, your filing deadline is then extended to 31 January. This will not assist partnerships and some individuals who cannot file electonically.