HMRC reveals top tax return excuses ahead of January deadline

Earlier this week, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) published a list of some of the weirdest and most wonderful ‘excuses’ it has recently received over late tax returns.

The list comes just days ahead of the Revenue’s looming self-assessment deadline, which falls on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

HMRC officials are calling on taxpayers to ensure their returns are submitted on time – and to remind them that outlandish excuses will never be accepted.

Some of the most bizarre and amusing ‘excuses’ the tax authority has received in recent years include:

  • “My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.”
  • “I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.”
  • “I spilt coffee on it.”
  • “I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.”
  • “My business doesn’t really do anything.”

HMRC also unveiled an additional list of unorthodox expense claims it had rejected in recent years.

These included “birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub,” “A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts” and “vet fees for a rabbit.”

HMRC Director General of Customer Service, Angela MacDonald, 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.

She said that “help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time,” but reminded taxpayers than in most cases, those who submit their returns late will need to pay a penalty.