Top 10 Hilarious Excuses Britons Made For Missing the Tax Return Deadline

By: Vishal   |   22 Dec 2016  |  
Tags: Tax return

There is just over a month to go for UK’s 10.3 million taxpayers to file their 2015-16 self-assessment tax returns.

So the department responsible for receiving it has released a list of unusual excuses people have given for not filing their tax return on time. We are not recommending you use any of them.

We loved Buzzfeed’s list from TaxAssist last year so much, we decided to go forth and make one more list. We hope this humble offering will be enough to appease them. 

1. “My tax return was on my yacht…which caught fire”


First things first, raise your hand if you owned a yacht. Thought as much.

2. “A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed” 


Ouch!  Couldn’t you just register to do it online?

3. “My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days”


She has a headache, again?

4. “My dog ate my tax return…and all of the reminders” 


Feed Santa’s little helper properly, so he won’t eat your tax return!

5. The postman doesn’t deliver to my house. 


Why – what did you do to him?

6.  “I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I am currently trying to find a new accountant” 


I hope they’ll be very happy together – now about your tax return ….

7. “My child scribbled all over the tax return, so I wasn’t able to send it back” 

File online, then!

8. “I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it” 


This just raises so many questions.

9. “My husband told me the deadline was the 31 March” 


Ever considered writing him off as a tax deduction?

10. “My internet connection failed” 

For the whole year?? 

So can one have a 'reasonable' excuse for missing the deadline?

Well, the good news is that there are some exceptions. According to HMRC, and we quote them here, 'A reasonable excuse is normally something unexpected or outside your control that stopped you meeting a tax obligation.'

Here are some examples that fit their criteria:

  • your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
  • you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
  • you had a serious or life-threatening illness
  • your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
  • service issues with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) online services
  • a fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return
  • postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted

If in doubt, speak to your accountant and find out if you have a valid excuse for missing the filing deadline. You can also contact HMRC directly to explain your circumstances.

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About Vishal Kurani

My name is Vishal Kurani, the author of the QXAS blog and I appreciate you stopping by! I help accountants gain Accounts Outsourcing knowledge through my easy to follow blogs and guides. Download my free guide "The Accountants Guide to Making Payroll Profitable" to learn how to make payroll profitable for your accountancy practice.