HMRC reveals the 10 lamest excuses for a late tax return

By Dan Wilson January 17, 2016 - 10:43 pm

The self-assessment deadline for tax returns for 2014-15 is now looming (end of the month!) and HMRC has issued a friendly reminder in the form of the 10 worst excuses they received last year.

And yes, one of them is “The dog ate my tax return.” The excuses below were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for tardy returns.

Here they are in full:

– My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
– I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
– My accountant has been ill
– My dog ate my tax return
– I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file
– My laptop broke, so did my washing machine
– My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details to complete my return online
– My husband ran over my laptop
– I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years
– I had a cold which took a long time to go

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, said: “Untidy family members and hungry pets are very unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate excuse for completing your tax return late. We understand that life can be unpredictable and for those customers who have a genuine excuse for missing the 31 January deadline, such as the flooding, help is on hand. My advice would be to contact us through our helplines or online, as soon as possible. But for those who are trying to play the system, while the rest of us do the right thing, the message is clear: submit your tax return online by 31 January or face a fine. We’re here to help people in genuine distress, but not to act as a free lender to people who can’t meet their responsibilities to pay their tax.”

HMRC has opened a special tax helpline for those affected by severe weather and flooding – 0800 904 7900.

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