Aliens and vertigo included in this year’s SA excuses

18 January 2018

Every year, following the 31 January Self Assessment (SA) deadline, HMRC receives a number of imaginative and intriguing excuses for not completing tax returns on time. Each year also sees some wildly optimistic expense claims. Recent excuses include:

  • 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

As well as the excuses, HMRC also receives some questionable items which taxpayers have tried to expense:

  • 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

It should come as no surprise that all of the excuses and expenses listed above were all rejected.

SA information

The deadline for sending 2015-16 Self Assessment tax returns to HMRC, and paying any tax owed, is 31 January 2017. 

Self Assessment customers can now also submit their return via their personal tax account. It takes 5 minutes to sign up for an account here.

To help customers fill in and file Self Assessment returns, the department provides online webchats, live webinars, YouTube videos and social media support, which can be accessed on any device.

Help is also available from the GOV.UK website at or from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310.