HMRC Releases Top 10 Most Bizarre Excuses and Expense Claims from Last Decade

Every year, following the 31 January Self Assessment (SA) deadline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) receives a number of imaginative and intriguing excuses for not completing tax returns on time. Each year also sees some wildly optimistic expense claims. To mark the end of the decade HMRC has released the top 10 most bizarre excuses and expenses they have come across:

  1.  My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me.
  2.  A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the deck….in a bowls club
  3.  Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’
  4.  A music subscription so I can listen to music while I work
  5.  I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land
  6.  My hamster ate my post
  7.  Claiming £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days
  8.  My dog ate the post … again
  9.  I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal
  10.  Caravan rental for the Easter weekend

The excuses and expenses listed above were all rejected.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said:

“Each year, we try to make it as easy and simple as possible for our customers to complete their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs’ right and on time. But we still come across some unusual excuses and expenses, which range from problems with a mother-in-law to yachts set on fire.”

“We always offer help to those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. It is 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 2018-19 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2020.