Self Assessment Excuses!

Aliens, vertigo and other Self Assessment excuses – don’t forget to file and pay on time!

As the deadline for filing and paying Self Assessment tax returns approaches, HMRC has revealed some of the more inventive excuses put forward by people who failed to pay on time.

Self Assessment tax returns for April 2016 to April 2017 are due to be filed and paid by January 31, including allowing time for payment to reach HMRC.

Each year, HMRC receives a number of imaginative excuses from those who haven’t completed their returns on time and has now revealed a variety of some of the most recent excuses.

These include:

  • I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house
  • I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play
  • My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it
  • My business doesn’t really do anything
  • I spilt coffee on it.

There were also some questionable and even ‘wildly optimistic’ expense claims. These included 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 and 250 days’ worth of sausage and chips meal expenses.
Not surprisingly, all the above expenses and excuses were rejected.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said:

“Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.

“However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. “We also receive absurd expense claims from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel. It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people’s spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims, such as legitimate expenses for a job.”

HMRC has stressed that help is available for those who are genuinely struggling to make the deadline – but the earlier they get in touch the better. Penalties are generally focused on those who persistently fail to complete their returns on time and deliberate evaders. Customers who provide HMRC with a good excuse before the deadline can avoid a penalty.

For more information or help, visit the GOV.UK website, or call the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.
Self Assessment returns can be completed and returned online via the Self Assessment portal.