A decade of bizarre excuses and expense claims

January 17, 2020

Every year, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) receives some imaginative excuses and expense claims following the 31 January Self Assessment deadline.

To wrap up the decade and with two weeks to the deadline, HMRC has highlighted 10 of the most weird and wonderful ones we have received from customers who missed the deadline over the last 10 years.

The most bizarre excuses and questionable expenses claims for items, in reverse order, are:

  1. Caravan rental for the Easter weekend
  2. I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal
  3. My dog ate the post … again
  4. Claiming £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days
  5. My hamster ate my post
  6. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land
  7. A music subscription so I can listen to music while I work
  8. Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’
  9. A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the deck….in a bowls club
  10. My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me.


All the excuses and expenses listed above were unsuccessful.

Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Each year, we try to make it as easy and simple as possible for our customers to complete their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time. But, we still come across some unusual excuses and expenses which range from problems with a mother-in-law to yachts set on fire.

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

The deadline for sending 2018-19 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2020.

Help to complete your return is available on GOV.UK, from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310, or on social media.