Aliens, rabbits and spilt coffee are among the most unbelievable excuses for late tax returns and expenses given to HM Revenue & Customs recently.

HMRC regularly releases a list of the bizarre excuses it's seen for not completing tax returns on time and has published the latest set as this year's 31 January self-assessment deadline looms.

This year's best worst excuses are:

  • "I couldn't file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won't let me in 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."

HMRC also released a list of questionable items that applicants 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."

All of the excuses and expenses above were refused by HMRC.

For full info on how to file your tax return this year and what happens if you miss the deadline see our self-assessment warning.

'Absurd expense claims'

Angela MacDonald, HMRC director general of customer services, said: "Each year we're making it easier and more intuitive for our customers to complete their tax return, but each year we still come across some questionable excuses, whether that's blaming a busy touring schedule or seeing aliens. However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.

"We also receive absurd expense claims from vet fees for a rabbit to room service at a hotel. It is unfair to make honest taxpayers pick up the bill for other people's spurious claims, so HMRC will only accept sincere claims such as legitimate expenses for a job.

"If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now the earlier we're contacted, the more help we can offer."

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