My dog ate my tax return

By Keith Johnston, Tax Director, Armstrong Watson

AS another January 31 Self Assessment deadline passes I think it’s time for a bit of light relief.

Every year HMRC receives some imaginative excuses and expense claims and they recently highlighted ten of the most weird and wonderful excuses they received from taxpayers who missed the deadline over the last ten years.

HMRC’s top ten most bizarre excuses and questionable expenses claims in reverse order are as follows:

10 Caravan rental for the Easter weekend.

9 I was up a mountain in Wales and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal.

8 My dog ate the post …again.

7 Claiming £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

6 My hamster ate my post.

5 I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht and only picking up post when I’m on dry land.

4 A music subscription so I can listen to music while I work.

3 Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’.

2 A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the decks …in a bowls club.

1 My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me.

Unsurprisingly, all of the above excuses and expenses claims were unsuccessful.

Anyone who missed the January 31 deadline for filing their tax return now faces an automatic £100 penalty. It is possible to contest the penalty if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing the deadline. Genuine excuses which may be accepted include physical or mental disability, death of a family member and serious problems with online filing.

If you have missed the deadline, you should still make every effort to file your return and pay your tax liability as soon as possible. Further penalties will apply if the return is still outstanding after three months or more. There are also additional penalties for paying your tax late of five per cent of the unpaid tax after 30 days, six months and 12 months.

If you’d like more information about our tax planning services, call 01609 702000 or email