The dictionary definition of an “excuse” (used as a noun) is: a reason or explanation given to justify a fault or offence. HMRC have just published the top ten excuses for late filing. Unsurprisingly, they all failed to impress…
Many of the excuses claim it was someone else’s fault – pets, girlfriends, work colleagues and even the President of the United States are named and blamed for taxpayers’ tardiness.
The excuses were all used in unsuccessful appeals against HMRC penalties for late filing and payment.
Here’s the full list:
- My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
- I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal.
- I fell in with the wrong crowd.
- I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.
- Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.
- I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.
- A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.
- I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.
- My girlfriend’s pregnant.
- I was in Australia.
As you will no doubt be aware, you can appeal against certain penalties if you have a reasonable excuse. Just in case it’s a while since you checked this out, here are HMRC’s definitions of a reasonable excuse:
- your partner died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline
- you had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs
- your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return
- service issues with HMRC online services
- a fire prevented you from completing your tax return
- postal delays that you couldn’t have predicted
And to complete this posting, the definition of reasonable is: having sound judgement; fair and sensible. Applying this to HMRC’s top ten list we’re not sure that some of the excuses are unfair or not sensible?