Late accounts excuses revealed: 'Found my wife in the bath with my accountant'

Women's legs in bubble bath
istock_stevecoleimages
Share this content

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 Hattersley

Richard is AccountingWEB's practice correspondent. If you have any comments or suggestions for us get in touch.

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

avatar
28th Sep 2018 10:04

I think the best excuse I have ever seen (this is true) is from an insurance claim. The lady stated that the accident happened when she was waving to the gentleman she had knocked over the previous week.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to johnjenkins
28th Sep 2018 10:34

johnjenkins wrote:

I think the best excuse I have ever seen (this is true) is from an insurance claim. The lady stated that the accident happened when she was waving to the gentleman she had knocked over the previous week.


That's taken from an old Jasper Carrot take on insurance claim forms.
Thanks (1)
avatar
to Ian McTernan CTA
28th Sep 2018 10:49

Yes, but they were all taken from true excuses that people had written on the claim form.

Thanks (0)
28th Sep 2018 10:17

You only list 8??

Thanks (0)
to kenfrost
28th Sep 2018 10:22

Goats ate the last two.

Thanks (3)
to Duggimon
28th Sep 2018 10:35

:)

Thanks (0)
avatar
to Duggimon
28th Sep 2018 10:51

Have you ever thought of becoming a comedian or is it just Accountants wit.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By edhy
to kenfrost
28th Sep 2018 10:53

When prudent accountant added 5+5 it came out 8.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By tedbuck
28th Sep 2018 11:01

Apropos of absolutely nothing someone explained to me the other day the meaning of MTD, an acronym which seems to have been prevalent recently.
Apparently it means "Making Tax Difficult"
The same source suggested a new motto for HMRC "If it ain't broke don't fix it" but in all honesty I think it's a bit late for that now as not much of it seems to function efficiently nowadays.

Thanks (0)
avatar
28th Sep 2018 11:15

Goodness, that's one an old one tedbuck (ref MTD)! I've heard others (disastrous, devious .....)

I hate to nit pick, but I must say I find number 8 entirely feasible and not remotely bizarre or funny and must be a common reason for late filing - although, I completely accept, not a reasonable excuse, especially for accounts filing where they are especially tough.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By swatt66
28th Sep 2018 11:27

I think being dead is no longer accepted.

Thanks (0)
avatar
to swatt66
28th Sep 2018 11:32

Monty python didn't think so either.

Thanks (0)
avatar
28th Sep 2018 11:35

Maybe a combination of them all could get a result, I aimed to file the accounts on the last day before fines, however as i started my journey I had to the right of me a lava flow, to the left of me were Cornish pirates, behind me was a bath overflowing with my success, in-front of me was a mountain of Valentine day presents, I even was prepared to overlook A goat trying to eat my wife, and an accountant trying to get out of a betting office, whilst being pursued by man eating slugs, is that reasonable enough.

Thanks (1)
avatar
By swatt66
to AndrewV12
28th Sep 2018 15:10

Luxury!

Thanks (0)
28th Sep 2018 11:35

Was the accountant in the bath trying to get the accounts signed though?

Thanks (2)
avatar
to Glennzy
28th Sep 2018 15:10

Would have to be one of those special ballpoint pens developed by NASA for astronauts, though! They even write underwater.

I actually have one: my late Mum bought it for me from the Giftshop, when she visited Cape Canaveral.

That was circa 40 years ago , though and I have been waiting for the moment when I pass the pen over to a gorgeous lady client, under water, in the steamy bath!

Still waiting... but not holding my breath meanwhile, you understand!

Thanks (0)
28th Sep 2018 11:41

Your top 10 only has 8 entries.

Thanks (1)
to SteLacca
28th Sep 2018 15:46

Ah, nicely spotted SteLacca. I guess an erupting volcano won’t cut it as an excuse for my poor maths. :-)

Anyway, I’ve amended that clanger in the article.

Thanks (0)
avatar
By Dandan
01st Oct 2018 19:21

Whilst it may seem funny and worth listing, it is not always the case that they are made up excuses.

If someone should find their partner in bed with someone in their own home a few days before the submission is due , I am sure that filing their accounts or Return will be the last thing on their mind for weeks or months to come.

I remember once reading about so-called unusual and stupid 999 ambulance calls. Top of the list was someone who called in panic because an insect was crawling down their ear hole. The call centre thought it was unbelievably funny but I didn't think so. Imagine a small spider or fly walking deep down into you ear hole. Not funny !

I think that those published lists of funny excuses tell only half the story. For all we know, the volcanic lava person could well have been someone stranded while genuinely on holiday in a country with an active volcano.

So, to anyone who should suffer a setback whilst getting information ready for filing, remember that you could become a figure of fun. If, on the day you meant to file , you choked on some food and you life saved by the Heimlich maneuver performed by a friend, don't expect any sympathy from the authorities if there is no proof of hospital admission.

Thanks (0)