It’s that time of year when the tax deadline is looming and HMRC is encouraging people to file their returns as soon as possible.

HMRC Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said this week:HMRC

“You need to file your 2013/14 tax return online, and pay what you owe, by 31 January. But it’s best to do it now, to allow plenty of time to sort out any issues with your return. That way, you’ll avoid the busy period for our phone lines as the deadline approaches.”

This advice was paired with a list of the worst excuses HMRC has received for missing the 31 January deadline. Along with the usual scapegoating of the family pet are more original (but still illegitimate) excuses, including blaming the US President:

1 – “My pet dog ate my tax return…and all the reminders.
2 – “I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a postbox or get an internet signal.”
3 – “I fell in with the wrong crowd.”
4 – “I’ve been travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency.”
5 – “Barack Obama is in charge of my finances.”
6 – “I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs.”
7 – “A work colleague borrowed my tax return, to photocopy it, and didn’t give it back.”
8 – “I live in a camper van in a supermarket car park.”
9 – “My girlfriend’s pregnant.
10 – “I was in Australia.”

Said HMRC’s Owen:

“People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them.”

Advice on filing returns can be found via the website or the HMRC Facebook page.

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