Aliens, Vertigo And Coffee Spillages Blamed For Late Tax Returns

Spoiler: These excuses didn't work.
tolgart via Getty Images

Aliens, vertigo and coffee spillages are among some of the excuses offered to the government for late tax returns this year.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has shared some of the more extravagant stories put forward by people who will fail to meet the January 31 tax self-assessment deadline for the self-employed and business owners.

Some 2017 highlights include:

“I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.”

“I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.”

“My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.”

“My business doesn’t really do anything.”

“I spilt coffee on it.”

As well as the excuses, HMRC said it had also received some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense, including :

- A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
- Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
- Vet fees for a rabbit.
- Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
- £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses - for 250 days.

Vet bills for a rabbit were among expenses claims submitted to HMRC
Vet bills for a rabbit were among expenses claims submitted to HMRC
ottoyu via Getty Images

Needless to say, all of the above excuses and claims were rejected.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, said: “Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens.

“However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.

“We also receive absurd expense claims, from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel.

“It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people’s spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims such as legitimate expenses for a job.

“If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now - the earlier we’re contacted, the more help we can offer.”

Self-assessors can sign up to submit their details online here.


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