Excuses, excuses: HMRC reveals top late tax return apologies
6 February, 2018
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has once again revealed the worst excuses that taxpayers have given them for failing to meet the 31 January Self-Assessment (SA) deadline.
Whilst there are sometimes reasonable excuses for a late submission, such as a serious illness, disability or a serious mental health condition that makes a person incapable of filing their tax return, others can be imaginative.
HMRC’s most recent list of excuses, includes:
- I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
- I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.
- My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
- My business doesn’t really do anything.
- I spilt coffee on it.
As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable expense claims including:
- A three-piece suite for a partner to sit on when the taxpayer is doing their accounts.
- Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
- Vet fees for a rabbit.
- Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
- £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days (£1,125 in total).
Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.
“However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.
“We also receive absurd expense claims from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel. It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people’s spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims such as legitimate expenses for a job.”
The deadline for sending 2016-17 SA tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, was 31 January 2018.
Those who may have missed the deadline may find that they have already received an automatic £100 fine, but the longer a tax return is left the more the penalties can increase, so it pays to act quickly and get professional advice if a return is submitted after the deadline.