International flights, Friday night drinks and betting slips were among the dodgiest expense claims rejected by the taxman last year.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has released a list of the most outlandish items taxpayers submitted as expenses on their annual returns for 2014-15. Taxpayers are allowed to claim deductions for genuine costs, such as work-related travel or tools for the job.
But it has released a shame file of rejected expenses, including holiday flights to the Caribbean, underwear (for, er, personal use), betting slips and caravan rental for the Easter weekend.
One company with no employees tried to write off the cost of luxury watches as Christmas gifts for staff. Another taxpayer attempted to claim for pet food they fed to their Shih Tzu “guard dog”, while a painter and decorator listed their Armani jeans as “protective clothing”.
A week out from the 31 January due date for self assessment returns, the taxman warned people would be caught if they tried to make false expense claims.
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“Year after year we receive a number of ludicrous expense claims, ranging from international holiday flights to expensive designer clothing, which we would never uphold,” said HMRC director general of customer services Ruth Owen.
“Why should the honest taxpayer pick up the bill for others?”
HMRC imposes penalties starting at £100 for late returns but does not fine people who have expenses rejected.