Weird and wonderful excuses for not submitting tax returns

We all have hectic lives and keeping to deadlines can be stressful. But none of the weird and wonderful excuses which HMRC have heard of the past 10 years would be eligible as a legitimate excuse for not submitting your self assessment on time.

Here’s 10 unreasonable and far fetched excuses which HMRC have heard:

1. My Mother-In-Law is a witch and she put a curse on me

2. I’m too short to reach the post box

3. I’m just too busy

4. A new junior member of staff made an error when submitting our clients self assessment as she wasn’t wearing her glasses

5. By boiler had broken down and my fingers were too cold to type

6. My dog ate it

7. I was up a mountain in Wales, I had no signal and couldn’t find a post box

8. I was on holiday

9. I gave my Self Assessment to a work colleague to photocopy for me and she forgot to return it to me

10. I found out my girlfriend was pregnant so I was preoccupied

HMRC also receive more believable excuses but, still these cannot be accepted as a reasonable excuse:

1. Someone was posting it for me and forgot

2. I sent a cheque from the wrong account and it bounced

3. I couldn’t work HMRC’s portal

4. I didn’t receive a reminder from HMRC

5. I didn’t know I had to do a Self Assessment

HMRC have heard every excuse under the sun. There’s no getting out of missing the deadline for your self assessment, unless of course you have what HMRC accept as a reasonable excuse:

1. Your partner or close relative passed away shortly before or on the day of the deadline

2. You had a medical emergency which prevented your from submitting your self assessment in time

3. You have a serious or life threatening illness

4. You had technical issues 

5. HMRC service issues

6. A fire or a flood prevented you from meeting the deadline

7. Postal delays

8. You missed the deadline due to your disability


You must have evidence to prove that your excuse is legitimate, otherwise you will be subject to fines and interest.

HMRC advise that if you know you’re going to have difficulty with paying or submitting your tax return then you must get in touch with them at your earliest opportunity to discuss your options.

If you find it difficult to keep on top of your finances and struggle to meet the deadline, then get in touch and we can help.


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