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Unbelievable excuses and dubious expenses

HMRC seem to be working on their people skills, either that or they have decided to soften their hard sales approach to tax compliance by injecting a little humour. Last week they published the following responses they had received for late payment of tax and claims for expenses that failed.

This what they said:

Excuses for not paying tax on time

As the deadline approaches for submitting returns and paying tax for 2017-18, HMRC reveals some of the most bizarre excuses it has received for not paying on time.

Most of our customers complete their tax returns honestly and on time but every year HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) receives some outlandish excuses and expense claims.

Some of the most bizarre excuses HMRC received from customers who missed the Self-Assessment deadline include being too short to reach the post box and having fingers too cold to type. Here are some of the strangest from the past year:

  • my mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
  • I’m too short to reach the post box
  • I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn
  • our junior member of staff registered our client in Self-Assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses
  • my boiler had broken, and my fingers were too cold to type

Claims for dubious expenses

As well as unbelievable excuses, every year we also receive some dubious expenses claims for unconvincing items like woolly underwear and pet insurance for a dog. Some of the most questionable include:

  • a carpenter claiming £900 for a 55-inch TV and sound bar to help him price his jobs
  • £40 on extra woolly underwear, for 5 years
  • £756 for my pet dog insurance
  • a music subscription, so I can listen to music while I work
  • a family holiday to Nigeria

All these excuses and expenses were unsuccessful.