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  • Paul Clifton

Ten worst excuses for late tax returns

Late filed tax return penalties

HM Revenue & Customs has released its new list of the worst excuses used by late-Tax Return filers trying to avoid the automatic penalties.

The ten worst excuses usually involve people claiming it was someone else's fault they filed their tax return late. Those blamed include the wife, the car, the niece, their accountant, pets and, in one bizarre case, a rat in the garden shed. How many people store their Tax Return in the shed before completing it!

Top 10 excuses

Clearly, HMRC is well used to people using a variety of excuses in order to avoid paying any penalty. The top ten list of worst excuses in full are:

  1. My tax papers were left in the shed and a rat ate them

  2. I’m not a paperwork-orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out

  3. My accountant has been ill

  4. My dog ate my tax return

  5. I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file

  6. My laptop broke, so did my washing machine

  7. My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log-in details to complete my return online

  8. My husband ran over my laptop

  9. I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years

  10. I had a cold which took a long time to go

Ruth Owen, director general of personal tax at HMRC, said: "People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn't one of them.

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