3 Jan 2014 12:52pm

Top excuses for late tax returns

Goldfish, cows and volcanoes, all appeared in excuses given to HMRC for late tax returns this year

After discovering that a record number of people spent Christmas Day filing their online tax returns, HMRC has now published the “oddest” excuses offered by those who missed the deadline.

Whether they are to be believed or not, the top ten includes:

1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder);

2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer);

3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman);

4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader);

5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser);

6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer);

7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver);

8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man);

9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm); and

10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).

Despite their best efforts, each person received a £100 late filing charge form the Revenue. They appealed against the decision using these excuses, but were unsuccessful.

Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general of personal tax, 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 2012/13 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.”

Raymond Doherty


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