Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


HMRC: The Best (And Worst) Excuses For Filing Your Tax Return Late

Is your mother-in-law a witch?

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As the 31st January filing deadline is upon us I thought you might like to see some of the best worst, or should that be the most dubious and outlandish, excuses received by HMRC for filing your tax return late ... as well as some claims for tax-deductible expenses that didn't make the cut!

If you're worried about filing your tax return late then get in touch!

If you're worried about filing your tax return late then get in touch!

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Being late with your tax return is a real issue for many people. In 2018, nearly 750,000 people missed the deadline and got a £100 fine. Of course, HMRC does accept valid excuses for not filing, but you do need to have a good reason.

Not some of the following:

  1. My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me

  2. I'm too short to reach the post box

  3. I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me, and my third maid was very slow to learn

  4. Our junior member of staff registered our client for Self-Assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses

  5. My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type

This continues a fine British tradition of really bad excuses!

Indeed last year's best worst excuse was, "I couldn't file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won't let me enter the house." although I think that this year's witchy mother-in-law is a pretty good one too!

Every business claims tax relief on its expenses, but sometimes we go too far! Claiming tax deduction on things that perhaps you shouldn't is another fascinating pastime.

This year's top 5 worst failed expense claims as rated by HMRC are:

  1. A carpenter claiming £900 for a 55 inch TV and sound bar to help him price his jobs

  2. £40 on extra woolly underwear, for five years

  3. £756 for pet dog insurance

  4. A music subscription so they can listen to music while they work

  5. A family holiday to Nigeria

Previous years' artfully misclaimed or ludicrous expenses include claims for Armani Jeans and quite expensive Friday night 'bonding sessions'!

If you are looking for help to get your business tax-deductible expense claims right, or are filing your tax return late and need help with a valid excuse, do give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566