Headaches, insects and yachts; excuses for not filing British tax returns

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 21, 2016 9:27 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - "My tax return was on my yacht ... which caught fire" - just one of the dozens of unusual excuses the British government's tax collector said it receives each year from customers who fail to complete their returns on time.

"A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed," was another, while several blamed children, partners or colleagues for inadvertently destroying their forms.

"It's easy to see that some excuses for not completing a tax return on time can be more questionable than others," said Ruth Owen, HMRC Director General of Customer Services.

"But there will always be help and support available for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time," she added in a statement.

Generally, taxpayers who self-assess must meet a deadline on Jan. 31 each year to complete their forms and pay outstanding sums.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs office (HMRC) said it expects to receive around 11 million self-assessment return forms this year.

"My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days" was one unsuccessful appeal against the HMRC's penalty for late filing, which starts at 100 pounds ($124).

Others, however, were more simple in their approach: "The postman doesn’t deliver to my house."

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Stephen Addison)