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A decade of bizarre excuses and expense claims from HMRC

Bad dog sitting on the torn pieces of documentsVengeful witches and pet hamsters feature in HMRC’s list of imaginative excuses and expense claims, which was published ahead of the 30th January self-assessment deadline.

HMRC has compiled a list of the weirdest unsuccessful excuses from the last decade. Needless to say, all of the excuses and expenses listed were not successful.

The list includes one taxpayer who claimed their mother-in law was a witch who had cursed them, hamsters and dogs that had eaten the post and a taxpayer who was up a mountain without internet access.

HMRC also reported questionable expense claims including pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’ and 250 days of claims for a £4.50 sausage and chips meal.

Commenting on the list, 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.

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.”1

Kevin Parsons, Cooper Associates Accountants Managing Director, had the following to say:

“Filing a tax return can appear daunting and sometimes confusing, for those not used to it. While HMRC is making the process easier, particularly with their Making Tax Digital scheme, it can take time to understand tax legislation and its requirements.

With decades of experience of working with individuals and businesses of all sizes, we have the skills to take the stress out of it all for you. We work closely with HMRC and can help you submit a successful tax return. We take pride in helping every single client by providing them with our first-class service.”

To learn more about our service, visit Cooper Associates Accountants or call us on 01823 218550. Alternatively, you can email


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