HMRC unveils the 10 worst excuses for late tax returns
HMRC have revealed that 10.39 million Self Assessment tax returns were completed ahead of the 31 January deadline which is more than 92% of the total returns expected, and 150,000 more than last year.
More than 89% of taxpayers (9.24 million) filed their return electronically.
HM Revenue and Customs has released its annual list of the 10 worst excuses people have given for filing or paying their tax return late. Unsurprisingly, none of these led to a successful appeal.
- My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
- I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal.
- I fell in with the wrong crowd.
- I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
- Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.
- I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.
- A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.
- I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.
- My girlfriend’s pregnant.
- I was in Australia.
If you miss the deadline you can appeal to HMRC against some penalties as long as you have a “reasonable excuse” for filing or paying late.
HMRC said this is normally something unexpected or outside your control such as your partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline, you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs or your computer failed when you were preparing your online return. It said service issues with HMRC’s website, a serious fire or postal delays may also be acceptable reasons.
But the taxman said it is unlikely to class bounced cheques, insufficient funds, difficulty using the online system or the lack of a reminder letter as reasonable excuses.
Ruth Owen, HMRC director general of personal tax, said: “People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them.”