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'My pet goldfish died': 10 freak excuses for late tax returns
With the deadline for self-assessment tax returns fast approaching, HMRC reveals it 10 favourite excuses for late tax returns.
‘My pet goldfish died.’ It’s hard to see why this would stop you sending in a tax return, but one self-employed builder thought it was worth a try. Given his profession you’d be forgiven for thinking that he would be an expert at inventing plausible excuses for not getting work done on time!
‘I had a run-in with a cow.’ We’ve all been there. You’re just about to file your tax return and then….you have a run-in with a cow. This was sent in by a Midlands-based farmer, so in fairness it could at least be plausible… sort of. OK, well not really.
‘After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.’
If a volcanic eruption stops you filling in a tax return, what happens if you catch a news item on the outbreak of war or, say, the death of Nelson Mandela? It must be a nightmare trying to balance administrative tasks with avoiding all news, ever.
‘My wife won’t give me my mail.’ There may be genuinely tragic circumstances behind this excuse from a self-employed trader, so probably best not to joke.
Cutting it fine
‘My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him.’ This excuse was used by a Leicester-based hairdresser who missed the cut-off point for her tax return. Let’s hope her hopeless husband wasn’t given the hairdryer treatment when his wife was landed with a £100 penalty.
‘I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play,’ was one excuse from a ‘Coventry writer’. Maybe we’re being harsh, but it’s unlikely HMRC missed out on a bumper tax haul with this one…
On the naughty step
‘My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is,’ claimed a ‘working taxi driver’. So how did it get up there in the first place?
Cruising for a bruising
‘I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land,’ claimed ‘South East man’. Cry me a river…
Here we go – the one entry in HMRC’s Top 10 from a financial services firm. ‘Our business doesn’t really do anything,’ claimed the Kent company. Can’t say fairer than that.
Oh, the irony. A London-based accountant has managed to squeeze their way into the list. With the frankly ingenious excuse of ‘I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns.’