Can you beat these bizarre expenses claims?

An unsuccessful expenses claim for pet food for a Shih Tzu “guard dog” has been included in HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) annual list of “imaginative and questionable tax claims”.

This year’s list also includes expenses claims for a caravan rental over the Easter weekend, £4.50 for sausages and chips “over 250 days”, and a music subscription to “listen to music while I work”.

The report also features the most bizarre excuses for filing a late return. These include a taxpayer who was “up a mountain in Wales” and “couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal”, and a dog who ate the taxpayer’s post… for the second year in a row.

A DJ, meanwhile, was “too busy with a party lifestyle spinning the deck” in a “bowls club”.

The report comes ahead of the January 31 Self Assessment deadline, the date by which taxpayers must file and pay tax due for the 2018/19 year to avoid penalties.

Late tax returns attract an automatic late penalty fine of £100, even if they are just one minute late. The fine increases significantly after three months.

Commenting on the report, Angela MacDonald, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: “Each year, we try to make it as easy and simple as possible for our customers to complete their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time. But, we still come across some unusual excuses and expenses which range from problems with a mother-in-law to yachts set on fire.

“We always offer help to those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time. It is unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims.

“If you think you might miss the 31 January deadline, get in touch with us now – the earlier we’re contacted, the more we can help.”

For help and support filing your tax return, get in touch with our expert team today.