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HMRC’s top five weird & wonderful self-assessment excuses

Written by: Danielle Levy
From witchcraft to broken boilers, HMRC has heard some interesting excuses for missing the self-assessment deadline during its time. Here are a few highlights...

The 31 January deadline is fast approaching to submit self-assessment tax returns and any tax owed. As individuals rush to get their paperwork together, HMRC notes that it has heard some weird and wonderful excuses for missing the deadline over the years.

Here are a few of their favourites…

  • “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”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, these excuses were unsuccessful in attracting sympathy from HMRC.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, added: “Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.

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

The deadline for sending 2017-18 self-assessment tax returns to HMRC, as well as paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2019.

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