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Good Luck with those excuses

Last year on January 10th, I posted a Blog entitled 13 Unusual Excuses as to why a Tax Return was late, all gleaned from a press release by HMRC. Many of the excuses were so outrageous as to be positively funny, whilst others were so ridiculous as to be laughable.

I really enjoyed writing that Blog and I know from feedback received, that most of my readers equally enjoyed reading it. Well the good news is that HMRC have done it again and published a second a list of the oddest excuses received from those individuals who failed to file on time. This year reveals a whole new set of bizarre excuses, which those with late returns tried to use to get out of paying penalties – but failed. Here is my selection of the 13 best (or worst!) excuses from the list:

  1. Topping HMRC’s list was: “my great dane Maximus ate my tax return……and every one of the reminders.”
  2. Second, apparently from a modern-day hermit was: “I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal.”
  3. The poor weak-willed taxpayer at number three explained “I fell in with the wrong crowd.”
  4. A Jason Bourne sound-alike can’t escape HMRC… “I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.”
  5. Four has a very famous accountant indeed: “Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.”
  6. Five is clearly busy building a menagerie: “I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots, an injured deer and some fox cubs.”
  7. Six is the type to let their friends copy their homework: “A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.”
  8. “I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park,” hasn’t number eight ever heard of wi-fi or postboxes
  9. Nine has been a very busy naughty boy: “My girlfriend’s pregnant and so is her sister”
  10. Number ten’s family are obviously aquatic: “I was in the Indian Ocean visiting my cousins.”
  11. Number eleven clearly keeps his finger on the political pulse: “I heard David Cameron say the Government was trying to eliminate paperwork.”
  12. Number twelve has been having an out-of-body experience: “I’ve been studying Zen Buddhism and I’m now on a different astral plane.”

And finally, my personal favourite from a taxpayer who didn’t submit his tax return on time, but who came up with not one, but three excuses:

Number thirteen really is unlucky:

“I’m couldn’t send it in electronically as whenever I touch a computer I get a static electric shock. I couldn’t send in a paper copy as I’m allergic to the ink you use, and I couldn’t phone to tell you as I suffer from telephonophobia.”

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Time to see this chap again

HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, wryly commented: “People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them, nor is having a bizarre allergy.”

But Seriously…

Over 11 million people are due to complete a tax return by 31st January and those who don’t will face a late £100 penalty, as did everyone in the above list.

    A reminder of the current penalty regime for late tax returns:

  • An initial £100 fixed penalty, which applies even if there is no tax to pay
  • After 3 months, additional daily penalties of £10 per day, up to a maximum of £900
  • After 6 months, a further penalty of 5 per cent of the tax due or £300, whichever is greater
  • After 12 months, another 5 per cent or £300 charge, whichever is greater
  • There are additional penalties for paying your tax late of 5% of the tax unpaid at 30 days, 6 months & 12 months


Happy New Year from All of us at Morgan Jones, and remember the self assessment deadline is 31st January 2015!