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‘My mother-in-law put a curse on me’: Taxman reveals ludicrous excuses for missing self-assessment deadline

  • 18/01/2019
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‘My mother-in-law put a curse on me’: Taxman reveals ludicrous excuses for missing self-assessment deadline
The most bizarre excuses for failing to submit self-assessment returns on time have been revealed by HMRC, as the deadline approaches for this year.


This year’s submission could be of particular significance to the mortgage market as it is the first in which landlords will be hit by the reduction to mortgage interest relief.

Millions of taxpayers must get their self-assessments for the year 2017 to 2018 by 31 January or an initial fine of £100 is issued.

HMRC said among the excuses given were being too short to reach the post box, as well as having fingers too cold to type.

Here are the most outlandish reasons given for delays.

  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 in self assessment by mistake because they were not wearing their glasses
  5. My boiler had broken and my fingers were too cold to type

The taxman also revealed some of the dubious expenses claims it had received.

  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 my pet dog insurance
  4. A music subscription, so I can listen to music while I work
  5. A family holiday to Nigeria

HMRC added that all these excuses and expenses were unsuccessful.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, said: “We want to make it as simple as possible for our customers to do their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time.

“But each year we still come across some poor excuses and expenses which range from problems with maids to televisions.

“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.”

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