"My goldfish died": Top 10 odd excuses for late tax returns

You’ve got to give it tardy British taxpayers for coming up with the most bizarre excuses for late tax returns.

 “I had a run-in with a cow” and “After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else” were some that made it to HMRC’s top 10 oddest excuses list.

HMRC’s director general of personal tax, Ruth Owen, said:

“There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.

“If you haven’t yet sent your 2012 to 2013 tax return to HMRC, you need to do it online and pay the tax you owe by the end of January. With all the help and advice available, there’s no excuse not to.”

Check out the top 10 weirdest excuses:

1.   My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder);

2.   I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer);

3.   After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman);

4.   My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader);

5.   My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser);

6.   I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer);

7.   My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver);

8.   I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man);

9.   Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm); and

10.         I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).

Which ones are your favourite? Leave your comments below…

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Personally, I think the excuse should be, "I wouldn't need to fill in this form if the system was different" ... which is TRUE for most people who do have to fill in a tax form. Scrapping PAYE/NI in favour of an 'Income Account' system would get rid of 95% of tax forms as well as all tax code letters, all payroll calculation, most contact with HMRC ... shame you don't write about this. After all it would add a few % to GDP and save the government billions!

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