Top 10 oddest late-filing excuses revealed

02 - 01 - 2014

Ahead of the 31 January tax return deadline, HMRC has revealed the ‘Top 10 oddest excuses’ tax payers have used for sending in late returns.

According to the Revenue, dawdling tax payers have chanced their arms with the following array of wild and paper-thin explanations:
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).

The individuals and businesses involved received £100 penalties from HMRC for filing late. They then used these excuses to appeal. However – and it may go without saying – they were unsuccessful.
HMRC’s Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, 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 still haven’t filed your 2012-2013 tax return with HMRC, you will need to do it online and pay your tax liability by the end of January. 
Online filers will need to be registered for HMRC Online Services and have a valid Activation Code, which can take a few days to arrive in the post. To register for HMRC Online services, visit:

Further assistance can be obtained by calling the HMRC Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 (open 8.00am to 8.00pm, Monday to Friday, and from 8.00am to 4.00pm on Saturdays) or by visiting

Alternatively, the team of expert tax Advisors at Foremans LLP will be happy to assist you with your query. You can call our offices on 01244 625 500.






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