'My yacht caught fire': the 10 worst tax return excuses

With the tax return deadline still fresh in the mind, HMRC have published their latest list of terrible excuses for late submissions, from wasp-related accidents to internet glitches.

‘The rat ate my tax return’

Each year, HMRC releases some of the most rubbish excuses they’ve received for late tax returns. Last year, tax-return-munching rats made an appearance, and one self-employed worker even blamed a bad cold.

As you’ll see below, this year the excuses aren’t much better, and while HMRC say that people with genuine reasons for missing the 31 January filing deadline will be treated leniently, none of these more imaginative excuses were accepted.

Those who don’t file their tax return on time can face an initial penalty of £100, with further charges racking up if the delay continues.

A ‘small minority’ of questionable excuses

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, 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.”

This year’s top 10 most terrible excuses

  1. “My tax return was on my yacht…which caught fire”

  2. “A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed”

  3. “My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for 10 days”

  4. “My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders”

  5. “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”

  6. “My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back”

  7. “I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it”

  8. “My husband told me the deadline was the 31 March”

  9. “My internet connection failed”

  10. “The postman doesn’t deliver to my house”

Which do you reckon is the most laughable tax return excuse? Tell us in the comments.

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