Some of the most bizarre excuses HMRC received from customers who missed the Self-Assessment deadline include ‘my mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me’ and ‘I’m too short to reach the post box’.
Another claimed they were too busy after three maids had left them throughout the year and one individual blamed their junior member of staff for registering their client in self-assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses.
One taxpayer even claimed that their fingers were too cold to type after their boiler had broken down.
• My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)
• I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)
• After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)
• My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)
• My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)
• I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)
• My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver)
• I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)
• Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)
• I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).
As well as unbelievable excuses, HMRC also receives some dubious expenses claims for unconvincing items. Some of the most questionable include:
• A carpenter claiming £900 for a 55-inch TV and sound bar to help him price his jobs;
• £40 on extra woolly underwear, for 5 years;
• £756 for pet dog insurance;
• A music subscription, so they could listen to music while they worked; and
• A family holiday to Nigeria.
• A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my 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
All these excuses and expenses were of course unsuccessful.