If you fail to do your taxes on time, don’t blame visitors from outer space. That’s the message from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the United Kingdom government’s tax collection department, which released a rundown on Wednesday of the worst recent excuses for not completing taxes on time.
Ahead of the January 31 deadline for filing British taxes, the department gave a number of examples of the weirdest reasons for not getting it done:
- 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.
Although excited news reports in 2016 suggested the British government was about to reveal the existence of aliens and UFOs, following in the footsteps of the Central Intelligence Agency that declassified its past studies earlier that year, it seems it doesn’t fly as a late tax excuse.
“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,” says Angela MacDonald, the department’s director general of customer services. “However, help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time.”
The department noted that as well as strange excuses, some tax returns have included bizarre expenses that people have tried to claim are part of the cost of conducting their business. These include:
- [Two chairs and a couch] for my partner to sit on when I’m doing my accounts.
- Birthday drinks at a Glasgow nightclub.
- [Veterinarian] fees for a rabbit.
- Hotel room service – for candles and prosecco.
- £4.50 [$6.20] for sausage and [fries] meal expenses for 250 days.
Unlike the United States, many people in the U.K. don’t need to file a tax return. Only the self-employed, high earners, business owners and a select few others ever need to send one. Failure to file on time comes with hefty charges, though, with a charge of five percent of unpaid tax for returns unfiled after 12 months, plus additional fines for the unpaid tax. If it comes to that, it’s unlikely spacemen will be able to assist.