Friday, 3 February 2017

HMRC Tales: Alternative Facts, Big Porkies and Absolute Whoppers...

What’s the best excuse you’ve ever heard?

Alternative facts, doublespeak and Newspeak have been getting a lot of coverage lately.

But whatever happened to good old fibs, tall stories and being economical with the truth? You know – the sort that make your nose grow a few extra inches and come out as a fantastical excuse.

Well, HMRC are pleased to report that there’s been a recent resurgence; coincidentally, around people appealing against their penalties for submitting their tax return late.

Try these for size:

A wasp in my car caused me to have an accident and my tax return, which was inside, was destroyed.

My wife helps me with my tax return, but she had a headache for ten days.

I couldn’t complete my tax return, because my husband left me and took our accountant with him. I’m currently trying to find a new accountant.

The postman doesn’t deliver to my house.

Sometimes, the old ones are the best, even if they do lack a bit of originality:

My dog ate my tax return… and all of the reminders.

Someone told me the deadline was 31st March.

“I work for myself, but a colleague borrowed my tax return to photocopy it and lost it.”

And the best one of all:

My tax return was on my yacht… which caught fire.

Try and trump that if you can. Bigly.

(It’s too late now but if you ever think you might miss a deadline, let HMRC know – there’s always help and support available for those with a genuine reason.)

As if that wasn’t enough, it even extends to excuses from unscrupulous employers for paying less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW):

I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the NMW; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.”

My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the NMW doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.”

My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.”

(These form part of an awareness campaign to encourage workers to check they’re receiving at least the statutory minimum wage ahead of the NMW and National Living Wage (NLW) rate rises on 1 April 2017.)

…Incidentally, you wouldn’t believe what a lucky escape we had the other day. 

Whilst working late to clear all the tax returns in time for the deadline, suddenly the whole building started to shake, and we were struck by bright lights and a deafening, humming sound. Convinced that Armageddon was imminent or we were about to be abducted by aliens, we smiled ruefully at what would have been the excuse of all excuses...

And then Mavis our cleaner walked in with her new turbo vacuum cleaner.

Until next month...