By Andrew Mitchell, Partner, Armstrong Watson Skipton

AS another 31 January Self Assessment deadline passes, I think it’s time for a bit of light relief.

Every year HMRC receives some imaginative excuses and expense claims and they recently highlighted 10 of the most weird and wonderful excuses they received from taxpayers who missed the deadline over the last 10 years. HMRC’s top 10 most bizarre excuses and questionable expenses claims in reverse order are as follows:

10. Caravan rental for the Easter weekend.

9. I was up a mountain in Wales and couldn’t 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 decks …in a bowls club.

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

Unsurprisingly all of the above excuses and expenses claims were unsuccessful.

Anyone who missed the 31st January deadline for filing their tax return now faces an automatic £100 penalty. It is possible to contest the penalty if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ for missing the deadline. Genuine excuses which may be accepted include physical or mental disability, death of a family member and serious problems with online filing.

If you have missed the deadline you should still make every effort to file your return and pay your tax liability as soon as possible. Further penalties will apply if the return is still outstanding after 3 months or more. There are also additional penalties for paying your tax late of 5% of the unpaid tax after 30 days, 6 months and 12 months.

If you’d like more information about our tax planning services, get in touch by calling 01756 620021 or email