My dog ate my tax return! HMRC highlights a decade of bizarre excuses and expense claims

With two weeks to go until the 31st January Self Assessment deadline, HMRC recaps the strangest and most imaginative excuses and expense claims received over the past 10 years.

Every year, HMRC receives some imaginative excuses and expense claims following the 31st January Self Assessment deadline.

To wrap up the decade, and with 2 weeks to the deadline, HMRC has highlighted ten of the weirdest and wonderful excuses they have received from customers who missed the deadline over the last decade.

The top 10 most bizarre excuses and questionable expenses claims for items, in reverse order, are:

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

All the excuses and expenses listed above were unsuccessful.

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 Self Assessment tax returns for the 2018 to 2019 tax year to HMRC and paying any tax owed is 31 January 2020.