Revealed: the weirdest expense claims sent to HMRC

By Student Blog

4 March 2019

January saw the self-assessment deadline come to pass and HMRC, perhaps fearing the worst, decided to share some of the rather odd claims and excuses for missing the deadline.

Tax season can be a stressful time and apparently brings out the 'chancer' side in a lot of people.

Future CAs should definitely be on the lookout for any of the below popping up. Though admittedly they are amusing!

Angela MacDonald, HM Revenue and Customs, HMRC Director General of Customer Services, said: "We want to make it as simple as possible for our customers to do their tax returns and the majority make the effort to do theirs right and on time.

"But each year we still come across some poor excuses and expenses which range from problems with maids to televisions. Help will always be provided for those who have a genuine excuse for not submitting their return on time but it’s unfair to the majority of honest taxpayers when others make bogus claims."

And here's the strangest expense claims they've recently received:

All of the above claims were rejected, but highlight how creative claimants can be in getting the most from their money!

The unusual claims that won on appeal

Not all unusual claims that are rejected, stay rejected, however. For instance, in a recent case (Daniels), the Tax Chamber in London made several rulings on the deductibility of certain items by an exotic dancer at Stringfellows club, after HMRC had ordered her to pay more than £8,600 in taxes.

During the appeal, the tribunal considered her evidence in detail and concluded:

  • Stage clothing: they accepted the clothing would not be worn outside and solely for purposes of business, and was therefore deductible.
  • Cosmetics and perfume: due to the level of 'stage make-up' required, the court judgement ruled it as deductible: "The fact that Ms Daniels could have worn make-up and the perfume outside her work is not the correct test. Her evidence was that she did not do so and that she bought those items solely for her performances. We consider that she incurred the expenditure wholly and exclusively for the purposes of her performances and that it was therefore deductible.’
  • Hairdressing, extensions and beauty treatments: The tribunal considered that the items were used to enhance her appearance for performances and expenditure was incurred for work purposes - ruled as deductible.

And in Parsons v HMRC Commissioners [2010], a movie stuntman appealed against HMRC's conclusion to disallow medical expenses, 'health and fitness', 'chiropractor' and 'dentist' expenses.

On appeal, it was concluded that several of his expenses were incurred for the purposes of his specialist profession, such as a knee operation - other general health expenses were disallowed.


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