‘Aliens stopped me filing my tax return’ – and other unusual excuses to HMRC

Aliens and a Glasgow nightclub featured in a list of strange excuses and expenses on self assessment

Aliens and a Glasgow nightclub featured in a list of strange excuses and expenses on self assessment tax returns, revealed by HMRC. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Aliens, vertigo and a poorly rabbit are among the recent excuses and expenses included in British workers' self assessment tax returns.

Ahead of the January 31 self assessment deadline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has revealed a number of imaginative – and intriguing – excuses for not completing tax returns on time.

Recent reasons for not submitting the paperwork 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.'

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– '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.'

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– 'I spilt coffee on it.'

As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense, for example:

– 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.

The excuses and expenses listed above were all 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.'

What's the strangest thing you – or someone you know – have tried to get past the taxman? Email bethany.whymark@archant.co.uk

The deadline for sending 2016-17 self assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is January 31 2018. Self assessment customers can now also submit their return via their personal tax account. Sign up at www.gov.uk/personal-tax-account.

If you think you may miss the deadline, call the self assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.

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