Every year, following the 31 January Self Assessment (SA) deadline, HMRC receives a number of what it calls "imaginative and intriguing" excuses for not completing tax returns on time.
Recent excuses include:
1. I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
2. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.
3. My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
4. My business doesn’t really do anything.
5. I spilt coffee on it.
As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense:
1. A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
2. Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
3. Vet fees for a rabbit.
4. Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
5. £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.
The excuses and expenses listed above were all 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."
Individuals who have not yet filed their 2016/17 self assessment tax returns need to do so by 31 January or face an automatic penalty of £100. After three months, HMRC will start charging penalties of £10 per day and after 6 months the penalty will be 5 percent of the person’s tax or £300 – whichever is higher.
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