Witch’s curse and hamster eating post among most bizarre late tax return excuses

A hamster eating the post and a mother-in-law inflicting a curse are among the most bizarre excuses for late tax returns seen over the past decade, according to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

As the self-assessment deadline approaches on January 31, HMRC has released a list of the most “weird and wonderful” excuses over the past 10 years it has seen for customers missing the deadline as well as questionable expenses claims.

All the late excuses and expenses claims on the list were unsuccessful.

The top excuse on the list was from someone who claimed their mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on them.

Pets eating the post also featured on the list, with one excuse from someone claiming their dog had eaten their mail and another from someone who blamed their hamster.

Another questionable excuse involved a DJ who was too busy partying in a bowls club.

HMRC also heard from someone claiming sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, said: “We always offer help to those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.

“It is 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.”

The top 10 most bizarre excuses for late tax returns and questionable expenses claims for items according to HMRC, in reverse order, are:

10. Caravan rental for the Easter weekend

9. I was up a mountain in Wales, and could not 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 deck….in a bowls club

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

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