Bizarre excuses for not filling in tax returns revealed

Reminder about self-assessment
Reminder about self-assessment
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Aliens, vertigo and spilt coffee are just some of the excuses made for not completing tax returns on time, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have revealed.

Every year, following the January 31 Self Assessment (SA) deadline, HMRC says it receives a number of imaginative and intriguing excuses.

Each year also sees some widely optimistic expense claims.

Recent excuses include:

1. I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.

2. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.

3. My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.

4. My business doesn’t really do anything.

5. I spilt coffee on it.

As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense:

1. A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.

2. Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.

3. Vet fees for a rabbit.

4. Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.

5. £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

The excuses and expenses listed above were all rejected.

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.

“If you think you might miss the January 31 deadline, get in touch with us now - the earlier we’re contacted, the more help we can offer.”

The deadline for sending 2016-17 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is January 31 2018.

Self Assessment customers can now also submit their return via their Personal Tax Account.

It takes five minutes to sign up for an account here: www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account.