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Top 10 worst excuses for late tax returns

Posted: January 22, 2016

As the Self Assessment deadline approaches on 31 January, HMRC has revealed some of the worst excuses submitted last year for late tax returns.

From broken kitchen appliances, hungry pets and arguments that last five years – some people will stop at nothing to pass the blame for their tardy timekeeping. Some of the excuses submitted for missing the 31 January Self Assessment deadline for 2013 to 14 included:

1.    My tax papers were left in the shed and the rat ate them
2.    I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out
3.    My accountant has been ill
4.    My dog ate my tax return
5.    I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file
6.    My laptop broke, so did my washing machine
7.    My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details to complete my return online
8.    My husband ran over my laptop
9.    I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for 5 years
10.  I had a cold which took a long time to go

The excuses were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late returns.

Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, said: “Untidy family members and hungry pets are very unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate excuse for completing your tax return late.
We understand that life can be unpredictable and for those customers who have a genuine excuse for missing the 31 January deadline, such as the flooding, help is on hand.”

The deadline for sending 2014-15 tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2016.

• if you need any help with your tax return, contact Burgess Hodgson on 01227 454627 or email tax@burgesshodgson.co.uk