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‘A rat ate my tax return’: 10 terrible excuses sent to HMRC

With the deadline for submitting tax-returns approaching, HM Revenue & Customs reveals the worst excuses it has heard.

by Alex Steger on Jan 15, 2016 at 15:29

‘My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them.’

In at number one, this excuse is a novel take on the classic ‘the dog ate my homework’. Add in the shed setting for a bit of colour and you have yourself a foolproof excuse for not doing your tax return. Except, as it turns out, you don’t.

‘I’m not a paperwork-orientated person. I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out.’

There’s nothing like a family feud to set back your admin. It is perhaps unsurprising the siblings fell out given that one of them got the other to do their taxes for them!

‘My accountant has been ill.’

A modern twist on the classic sick note, this simple but often effective strategy was given short shrift by HMRC.

‘My dog ate my tax return.’

An oldie but a goodie. What is it with dogs and eating important documents? They can’t enough of them, the little mutts.

‘I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file.’

There are obviously good things about the pervasive nature of the internet and the rise of mobile technology. You can check football scores on the move, order taxies and start revolutions to overthrow totalitarian regimes in the Middle East.

One drawback is that excuses like this one don’t really work anymore.

‘My laptop broke, so did my washing machine.’

The laptop part of this is almost fair enough, although it is slightly undermined by the availability of literally millions of other computers.

The washing machine part is a little more confusing, but helps paint a picture of a man betrayed by the very technology on which he relies. There’s a film in there somewhere.

‘My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log-in details to complete my return online.’

Nieces huh! Who’d have ’em?

'My husband ran over my laptop'

And when it’s not your brother’s pesky daughter ruining your tax return its your husband and that bloody car of his. Quite what the laptop was doing in the driveway remains unclear.

'I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years'

We’ve all had arguments with our nearest and dearest but a five-year hiatus in Italy seems a bit extreme. It sounds like there is more to this one, but sadly we will never know.

‘I had a cold which took a long time to go.’

And finally, if in doubt just say you weren’t feeling well. Only a faceless, bureaucratic, money-grabbing organ of government would be so cruel as to dismiss the sick. Oh, wait…..sorry.

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