Britons missing the January 31 deadline to file tax returns have mentioned quirky excuses for doing so, prompting authorities to warn them that claiming rats or dogs ate their papers will not save them from penalties.
Tax officials said on Friday that from broken kitchen appliances, hungry pets and arguments that last five years – some people will stop at nothing to pass the blame for their tardy timekeeping.
Some of the excuses submitted to tax officials included:
— My tax papers were left in the shed and the rats ate them.
— I’m not a paperwork orientated person – I always relied on my sister to complete my returns but we have now fallen out.
— My accountant has been ill.
— My dog ate my tax return.
— I will be abroad on deadline day with no internet access so will be unable to file.
— My laptop broke, so did my washing machine.
— My niece had moved in – she made the house so untidy I could not find my log in details to complete my return online.
— My husband ran over my laptop.
— I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years.
— I had a cold which took a long time to go.
Officials said the excuses were all used in unsuccessful appeals against penalties for late returns. They said spurious excuses would not be accepted, but they did recognise that many taxpayers may have difficulties completing their tax return on time because of factors such as floods.
Ruth Owen of HM Revenue and Customs said: “Untidy family members and hungry pets are very unlikely to be accepted as a legitimate excuse for completing your tax return late…We’re here to help people in genuine distress, but not to act as a free lender to people who can’t meet their responsibilities to pay their tax.”