A WITCH PUT A CURSE ON ME (and other great excuses for not filing a tax return on time)

First published on 22 May 2024 by Alastair
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  • HMRC
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  • Tax News

At M&S Accountancy and Taxation we understand that there can be good reasons why tax payers are unable to complete a tax return on time. On the whole, we find HMRC and Companies House for Company Accounts to be reasonable and understanding when it comes to unusual circumstances that have made it difficult to file on time. For example, it’s unlikely that an extension would not be received from Companies House (at least initially) following poor health or a family bereavement. This, however, does not mean that any old excuse will do. Recently, we noticed that a pub owner lost an appeal at a first-tier tribunal after claiming that they did not complete a tax return when requested during the pandemic as they believed the Government and HMRC had shut down during lockdown.

This got us thinking about some of the funniest excuses that people have tried to get away with – and, it must be said, some of them are extremely inventive…for example:

  • My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me
  • I’m too short to reach the post box
  • I was just too busy – my first maid left, my second maid stole from me and my third maid was very slow to learn.
  • After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
  • I fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • Barack Obama is in charge of my finances
  • I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht and only picking up post when I’m on dry land.
  • A colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and didn’t give it back.
  • I’ve been travelling the world trying to escape a foreign intelligence agency.
  • My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him.
  • I had a run-in with a cow.
  • I’ve been too busy submitting my client’s tax returns to complete my own (yes, this one is from an accountant!)
  • Inevitably, the classic “my dog ate my homework” does make an appearance with “my dog ate my tax return and all the reminders”.

Unfortunately for the people who came up with them, and to no great surprise, all the above did not cut it with HMRC and Companies House.

If you have a genuine reason for not completing your tax return on time, or if you simply need help to complete you tax return or accounts on-time, please get in touch with us.

Callum McKinnon, M&S Accountancy and Taxation


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