HMRC reveals its most outlandish self-assessment excuses

22nd January 2019

With time running out to complete self-assessment tax returns online for the 2017-18 financial year before the 31st January deadline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published some of the most outlandish excuses from taxpayers for missing the deadline.

These bizarre excuses also incorporate some of the boldest expense claims that taxpayers have tried – and failed – to incorporate on tax returns in a bid to reduce their tax liabilities.

Most UK taxpayers are completely honest with their self-assessment tax returns. However, every year, HMRC receives somewhat ambitious excuses for missing the self-assessment deadline from taxpayers attempting to avoid the immediate £100 late filing penalties imposed.

Whether it’s an inability to reach the post box or poor eyesight, there are some individuals that attempt to push the boundaries of what’s considered an acceptable excuse for missing the self-assessment deadline; not to mention acceptable expense claims.

The strangest self-assessment excuses received by HMRC in 2018

  • My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
  • I’m too short to reach the post box
  • I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn
  • Our junior member of staff registered our client in self-assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses
  • My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type

The most ambitious self-assessment expense claims received by HMRC in 2018

  • A carpenter claiming £900 for a 55-inch television and sound bar to “help him price his jobs”
  • £40 on extra woolly underwear, for five years
  • £756 for pet dog insurance
  • A music subscription so they can listen to music while they work
  • A family holiday to Nigeria

Although HMRC will always treat individuals with genuine excuses for missing the self-assessment deadline leniently, it continues to take a dim view towards those who fail to take responsibility for their tax liabilities.

Angela MacDonald, Director General of Customer Services, HMRC, said: “We want to make it as simple as possible for our customers to do their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time.

“But each year we still come across some poor excuses and expenses which range from problems with maids to televisions.

“Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.

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

It’s still not too late to get professional guidance and support with preparing and filing your self-assessment tax return.

Get in contact with your local TaxAssist Accountant today. They can work with you to calculate your tax liabilities, complete your tax return online and submit it using HMRC-approved software. They will even liaise with you on the amounts to be paid and their respective due dates.

This comprehensive service is available for a fixed, competitive price, giving you complete peace of mind. To arrange a free initial consultation with your local TaxAssist Accountant on the 31st January deadline for 2017-18 self-assessment call 0800 0523 555 or drop us a line using our online enquiry form.

Call us today to make an appointment at your local office

0800 0523 555

Or submit an enquiry