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'My goldfish died': 10 oddest excuses for late tax returns

HM Revenue and Customs reveals 10 most bizarre excuses for sending in a late return

With the 31 January tax return deadline just around the corner, we bring you the 10 oddest excuses for sending in a late return:

From my pet goldfish died to my wife refuses to give me my mail, these bizarre excuses have all been used by tardy taxpayers....And all of them received a £100 penalty for filing late.

The penalties for late self-assessment returns include an initial fine of £100, which applies even if there is no tax to pay, or if the tax due is paid on time.

After three months, an additional daily penalty of £10, up to a maximum of £900, applies.

After 6 months, the amount goes up a further 5 per cent, or £300 charge, whichever is greater.

There are also additional penalties for paying late of 5 per cent of the tax unpaid after 30 days, 6 months and a year.

HMRC’s Director General of personal tax, Ruth Owen, said: "There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.

"If you haven’t yet sent your 2012/13 tax return to HMRC, you need to do it online and pay the tax you owe by the end of January. With all the help and advice available, there’s no excuse not to."