The 10 most bizarre excuses for late tax returns are revealed

The Momentum UK Team 03 January 2014

With the January tax return deadline looming, HMRC has revealed the top 10 oddest excuses it has received from people who were late with their tax returns.

The tax return deadline is on the 31st of January. People who are self-employed, company directors, religious ministers, as well as those who earn more than £100,000 a year, will need to file their tax return before this date or risk a fine from the Revenue. The following are the 10 most bizarre excuses HMRC has received from people who filed their returns late:

  1. “My pet goldfish died” - a self-employed builder
  2. “I had a run in with a cow” - a farmer in the Midlands
  3. “After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else” - a woman from London
  4. “My wife won’t give me my mail” - a self-employed trader
  5. . “My husband told me the deadline was 31st March, and I believed him” - a hairdresser in Leicester
  6.  “I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play” - a writer in Coventry
  7. “My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is” - a taxi driver
  8.  “I’ve been cruising around the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land” - a man from the South East
  9. “Our business doesn’t really do anything” - a financial services firm in Kent
  10. “I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns” - a London accountant

All the above people received a £100 fine from HMRC for late returns, and used these excuses in their appeals - perhaps unsurprisingly they were unsuccessful.

Ruth Owen, the director general of personal tax at HMRC, said:

“There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.

“If you haven’t yet sent your 2012 to 2013 tax return to HMRC, you need to do it online and pay the tax you owe by the end of January. With all the help and advice available, there’s no excuse not to.”

If you need to submit a tax return, it is your responsibility to make sure it is done properly and on time - you may want to consider using the services of a qualified accountant, as you could be liable for a fine if it is done incorrectly.