Since 31 January, HMRC has released the latest list of rejected excuses for late filing for Self Assessment. HMRC does this every year, and this year certainly did not disappoint!

• I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.
• I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play.
• My ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it.
• My business doesn’t really do anything.
• I spilt coffee on it.

Unusual claims, meanwhile, have included:

• A three-piece suite for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
• Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
• Vet fees for a rabbit.
• Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
• £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days.

The HMRC Director General of Customer Services, Angela MacDonald, said:
“Each year we’re making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that’s blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens. However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.

“We also receive absurd expense claims from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel. It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people’s spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims such as legitimate expenses for a job.”