HMRC brushes off claims for aliens, chips and rabbits

Marital difficulties with visitors from outer space and an acute attack of vertigo were among the more outlandish excuses given to HMRC for not completing a tax return on time, while among the more optimistic expense claims made was one for birthday drinks in a Glasgow night club

Every year, following the 31 January self assessment deadline, HMRC provides a list of some of the imaginative and intriguing reasons provided for failing to get returns in. 

Recent examples include the man who said he could not file his return on time ‘as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house’.

Another claimed his ex-wife had left his tax return upstairs, but as he suffered from vertigo he could not go up to retrieve it.

One taxpayer said their business ‘doesn’t really do anything’, while a second claimed to be far too busy touring the country with a one-man play, and a third said they had spilt coffee on the paperwork.

As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense.

They included ‘a three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts’ and vet fees for a rabbit.

Entertainment and food and drink expenses featured prominently, with HMRC turning down claims for hotel room service – for candles and prosecco, along with the taxpayer who wanted to claim £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

HMRC says all these excuses and expenses were rejected.

Report by Pat Sweet

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