Witchcraft and boiler breakdowns among rejected excuses for late tax returns


Witchcraft, being too cold to type and being too short to reach the post box are among the most bizarre excuses the taxman has heard for people not getting their self-assessment returns in on time.

Some of the strangest excuses HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it has heard in the past year include someone’s mother-in-law being a witch and putting a curse on them; someone else saying they were too short to reach the post box, and someone being too cold to type after their boiler broke down.

The deadline for getting online self-assessment returns in for the 2017-18 tax year and paying any tax owed is January 31.

People who fail to do this face a £100 initial fine followed by further possible penalties.

HMRC said every year it also receives some dubious expenses claims for unconvincing items.

Expenses include a claim for woolly underwear, a carpenter claiming for a TV and sound bar to help him price jobs and someone else claiming for a music subscription so they could listen to tunes while they worked.

HMRC said all these excuses and expenses claims were unsuccessful.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, said: “Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.

“If you think you might miss the January 31 deadline, get in touch with us now – the earlier we’re contacted, the more we can help.”

Help is available on gov.uk from the self-assessment helpline or on social media.