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  • Shepherd Partnership

My goldfish died... and other excuses that won't get you off filing your tax return on time!


On 3 January 2023, HMRC published data which showed that almost half (5.7 million) of the 12 million people expected to file a 2021/22 tax return were yet to do so.

Unlike during the pandemic, HM Revenue and Customs confirmed that they would not be waiving any penalties for returns filed late.


HMRC also occasionally release details of the funniest excuses they've received for late tax returns! Here are a few of the best...


  • I had an argument with my wife and went to Italy for five years

  • My goldfish died

  • I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play

  • I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land

  • After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else



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