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Blog » Top Excuses Taxpayers Made for Missing UK Tax Deadline

Top Excuses Taxpayers Made for Missing UK Tax Deadline

Last updated: 25 Jan, 2024 By | 6 Minutes Read

Missing Tax Deadline

As the annual tax deadline looms over the United Kingdom, taxpayers often find themselves in a race against time to ensure their financial affairs are in order. However, despite the clear guidelines and reminders provided by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), there are always those who miss the crucial deadline. In this blog post, we delve into some of the most creative and sometimes amusing excuses taxpayers have made for their tardiness in meeting their tax obligations.

Missing Tax Deadline Consequence for Taxpayers

  • The Dog Ate My Tax Return

One classic excuse that seems to transcend time and borders is the age-old “the dog ate my homework” variation – only this time, it’s the tax return. Individuals have claimed that their pets, whether they be dogs, cats, or even more exotic animals, have played a role in the disappearance or destruction of important tax documents. While this excuse may elicit a chuckle, HMRC takes a more serious stance on meeting deadlines.

  • Alien Abductions and Other Extraordinary Events

Some taxpayers have resorted to extraterrestrial explanations for their failure to file on time. Claims of alien abductions, time travel, or other outlandish events are not unheard of when it comes to tax-related excuses. While these stories may be entertaining, HMRC typically expects more down-to-earth reasons for late submissions.

  • The Unreliable Technology Gambit

In an era dominated by technology, it’s not uncommon for taxpayers to blame their gadgets for their tax-filing shortcomings. Whether it’s a malfunctioning computer, a crashed hard drive, or internet connectivity issues, blaming technology has become a go-to excuse for many. However, HMRC emphasizes the importance of planning and backing up documents to avoid such pitfalls. With the right tax preparation outsourcing services, you can stay ahead of your tax filings. 

  • The Forgetful Spouse

Marriage vows may include promises to stand by each other through thick and thin, but sometimes spouses are thrown under the bus when it comes to tax deadlines. Some taxpayers have attempted to shift the blame to their forgetful better halves, claiming that their partners failed to remind them of the impending tax deadline. Needless to say, HMRC doesn’t find this excuse particularly convincing.

  • The Great British Weather

For those living in the UK, where unpredictable weather is a national pastime, blaming the elements for a late tax submission might seem like a plausible excuse. Whether it’s heavy rain, snow, or unexpected sunshine, taxpayers have cited adverse weather conditions as impediments to timely tax filing. HMRC, however, remains unsympathetic to weather-related excuses.

  • DIY Tax Woes

In the age of online tax filing, many individuals prefer the do-it-yourself approach. However, not everyone possesses the financial acumen to navigate the complexities of tax forms successfully. Some taxpayers have confessed that their lack of understanding or confusion about the tax process led to delayed submissions. HMRC encourages individuals to seek professional advice if they are unsure about their tax obligations.

  • The Phantom Accountant

While hiring a professional accountant is a prudent decision for many, some taxpayers have claimed that their accountants mysteriously vanished or were unreachable during the crucial period leading up to the tax deadline. While genuine cases of professional unavailability may occur, HMRC emphasizes the importance of ensuring reliable and timely communication with financial advisors. This is also a common mistake that taxpayers make.

Dive into the Top Scenarios if your Missing Tax Deadline

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

All the above-listed excuses and claims were not accepted.

“We try to make it as easy and simple as possible for our customers to complete their tax returns. The majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time.”, says Angela MacDonald, HMRC director of customer services. “But, we still come across some unusual excuses and expenses which range from problems with a mother-in-law to yachts set on fire.”, she added.

She also said, “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 missed the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now at +1 833-313-3143 or email us at [email protected] – the earlier we’re contacted, the more we can help.”

For help in completing your return, click here.

Source: GOV.UK & Accountex


If missing tax deadline continues you may penalties. It is a significant event for individuals and businesses across the UK, it’s essential to recognize the importance of meeting obligations in a timely manner. While some excuses for late tax submissions may be entertaining, HMRC remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding tax regulations. Taxpayers are encouraged to plan ahead, seek professional advice when needed, and avoid relying on whimsical explanations that may not hold up under scrutiny. As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of this blog, let it serve as a reminder that while tax-related humor may abound, punctuality in tax matters is no laughing matter.