"My dog ate my tax return… and all of the reminders": The worst HMRC late return excuses of last year

William Turvill
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Dog on typewriter
He wouldn't. Would he? (Source: Getty)

It’s that time of year again. HMRC, aka The Taxman, has published its annual list of the dodgy excuses for people filing their tax returns late.

As well as some more elaborate stories, involving burning yachts, wasp attacks and naughty children, one person reverted to an old classic in 2014/15: “My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders.” (An improvement on last year’s simple “my dog ate my tax return”.)

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Here are the other nine most bizarre excuses used in (unsuccessful) appeals against HMRC penalties for late returns:

  • My tax return was on my yacht…which caught fire
  • A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed

A wasps has plunged into a glass of hone
City A.M. understands wasps are not expected to file tax returns (Source: Getty)

  • My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for 10 days
  • I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant
  • My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back
  • I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it
  • My husband told me the deadline was the 31 March”
  • My internet connection failed
  • The postman doesn’t deliver to my house

Here’s the boring, but important, stuff:

The deadline for 2015/16 self assessment tax returns is 31 January 2017. Remember, HMRC will not accept any old excuse for tardiness.

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HMRC director general of customer services Ruth Owen said:

Blaming the postman, arguing with family members and pesky insects – it’s easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others. Luckily, it’s only a small minority who chance their arm.

But there will always be help and support available for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now - the earlier we’re contacted, the better.

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