Dodgy Excuses And Expense Claims

Every year, following the 31 January Self-Assessment deadline, HMRC exposes a number of interesting excuses for not completing tax returns online.

The most interesting ones are the following:

 Late Filing Excuses

  1. I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
  2. I’ve been far too busy during the country with my one-man play.
  3. My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
  4. My business doesn’t really do anything.
  5. I spilt coffee on it.


These are unlikely to be accepted to by HMRC as they will not be seen as ‘reasonable’. Taxpayers who used these as an excuse are therefore likely to incur a £100 penalty or significantly higher penalties for lengthy delays.

  Expense Claims

  1. A three-piece suit for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
  2. Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
  3. Vet fees for a rabbit.
  4. Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
  5. £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.


All of the mentioned claims were rejected. HMRC would only accept expense claims if they were incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for the purposes of business.