A steamy bathroom tryst between a wife and an accountant features highly on Companies House's list of bizarre excuses for late accounts.
The Companies House list highlights the many unusual reasons companies have given for not filing their company accounts on time, including the one unfortunate business owner who walked in on his wife and accountant sharing a bubble bath.
But, surprisingly, the accountant’s bathtub dalliance didn’t top Companies House's list. It has saved that distinction for ‘goats ate my accounts’ as the most ludicrous excuse.
The goat clanger saw off other late filing excuses from businesses such as ‘pirates stole my accounts’ and ‘a volcano erupted and prevented me from filing’.
Slugs and betting offices were also used as belated justifications from companies.
Companies House compiled the list to raise awareness of late filing and to remind those who don’t file on time that they risk receiving a late penalty fine. Companies House has warned businesses that penalties for late filing will double if accounts are filed late two years in a row.
Here is Companies House’s list of the most bizarre excuses for late accounts
1. Goats ate my accounts
2. I found my wife in the bath with my accountant
3. Pirates stole my accounts
4. We delivered the accounts to the betting office next door to Companies House
5. A volcano erupted and prevented me from filing
6. Slugs ate my accounts
7. It was Valentine’s Day
8. My company was more successful than I thought that it would be, so I was too busy to file
Companies House’s senior enforcement manager Nick Parker used the list to remind companies and directors of their responsibility to file accounts with Companies House.
“There will always be unforeseen events that mean a company is unable to file accounts on time. In exceptional circumstances, companies can request an extension to the filing deadline, however these requests must be received before the filing deadline,” he said.
Parker encouraged unpunctual companies, directors and those filing on behalf of the company to use Companies House’s email reminder service and as the department’s presses towards its 2019 plans to be 100% digital, he also promoted Companies House’s online services:
“The Companies House WebFiling service has in-built checks to ensure that all the relevant information is provided before a customer can submit. It also provides filers with automatic e-mail confirmation that accounts have been received and once they have been accepted for filing,” he said.
Other strange and unusual excuses
Companies House’s list echoes the unusual excuses HMRC gathers every year from taxpayers who have failed to submit their self assessment returns on time. This January, HMRC shamed this intergalactic excuse as their top late tax return clunker: “I couldn’t file my return on time as my wife has been seeing aliens and won’t let me enter the house.”
Rivalling that excuse at number three on HMRC’s list was ‘my ex-wife left my tax return upstairs, but I suffer from vertigo and can’t go upstairs to retrieve it’.
But accountants and finance teams hear on a daily basis some weird and unusual excuses from clients and employees, as HMRC’s questionable taxpayer expense claims confirmed. Notable on that list was a taxpayer who expensed £4.50 for sausage and chip for 250 days straight.
Can you top any of the late-filing excuses revealed by Companies House? Share your stories with the community by commenting below.
About Richard Hattersley
Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.