“My Dog Ate My Tax Return”: HMRC Reveals Top 10 Terrible Tax Excuses


The U.K.'s HM Revenue and Customs published the top ten terrible excuses for missing the January 31 tax return deadline, with taxpayers laying blame on pets, work colleagues, and even the President of the United States.

The following is a list of excuses used in unsuccessful appeals against penalties for late filing and payment of taxes:

  • 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.

Whilst HMRC acknowledged that people can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, “owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them.”

For more details, the press release can be found here.

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