Dodgy excuses and expense claims


Every year, following the 31 January self-assessment (SA) deadline, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) receives a number of interesting excuses for not completing tax returns on time. Recent excuses include:

  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 touring 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 wash with HMRC as they will not be seen as ‘reasonable’. All of the above are therefore likely to suffer a £100 penalty or significantly higher penalties for lengthy delays.


Expense claims

As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable claims for supposedly tax-deductible expenditure:

  1. A three-piece suite 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 above claims were rejected, although we think that the vet fees for a rabbit would have been allowable if being claimed by a professional magician as long as he could have argued that they were incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily for the purposes of his trade!




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