HMRC's top 10 tax credits renewal excuses

Rachael Power
Community Correspondent
Sift Media
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Being dumped by a "rich bloke" is one of several excuses taxpayers gave for failing to renew their tax credits claims on time. 

The top 10 list of excuses follows on from the Revenue's publication of its top 10 national minimum wage and late tax return cover-ups. 

Claimants have until the 31 July to renew, or their payments might end. Last year, 87% renewed on time. However the remaining 13% who failed, came to about 650,000.

For the first time, this year claimants can renew online at GOV.UK, in addition to post and phone.

Some of the excuses range from the mundane (the dog ate my form) to the bizarre: 

1. Wealthy boyfriend - the top excuse was from a claimant who said they didn't need the money because they met a "rich bloke" - but then he dumped them

2. Mummy's pet - another claimant said their mum usually does this for them and so they had forgotten

3. Auto mishap - a very unfortunate person apparently locked their form in the boot of their car. And then the car went on fire. Oh, dear

4. Child's plaything - the form was used as a baby's colouring book, in one instance

5. That old chestnut - of course, no great excuse list is ever complete without: "my dog ate the form"

6. Deadline confusion - one claimant said they simply got muddled up with the 31 January self assessment deadline

7. Holiday time - another booked the last two weeks of July for a holiday and forgot all about it

8. Off sick? - it sounds pretty valid to us, but HMRC included one claimant who was in hospital, but is feeling "much better now" 

9. Bosses' fault - one claimant was simply unable to get income details from their employer in time

10.  Amnesiac - last on the list was the claimant who thought they had already renewed

Around 203,000 claimants have renewed online to date. If tax credits are not renewed by the deadline, claimants may lose payments.

HMRC has asked that the accuracy of information in claimants' renewals pack should be checked. In addition, claimants need to tell the Revenue about changes to their circumstances that they haven’t already reported, i.e. their working hours, childcare costs or pay.

Have you heard any excuses from clients who failed to renew in time? Share your best/worst ones with us below.


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18th Jul 2014 11:12

tail wagging dog

what I would like to hear is the list of excuses as to why or even how they managed to contrive such a dog's breakfast of a system

Thanks (7)
18th Jul 2014 11:52

Late claiments

I had one claimant in to the office last year after the deadline and her excuse was

" I did intend to come and see you on a certain day but forgot to put it in the diary so I didn't turn up"

I had to laugh at that one

Thanks (0)
18th Jul 2014 11:56

Late claim

How many had to wait for the Interpreter?

Thanks (5)
18th Jul 2014 12:15

self employed

Crazy system if your clients are self employed...31 January to complete and file their tax return but need to have their figures done and in the the TC people by 31 July.

The whole system needs a complete overhaul.

Thanks (2)
18th Jul 2014 13:02

Estimated figures

Ian McTernan CTA wrote:

Crazy system if your clients are self employed...31 January to complete and file their tax return but need to have their figures done and in the the TC people by 31 July.

The whole system needs a complete overhaul.

Have to agree that the system needs an overhaul but on your first point, can you not use estimated figures which must be replaced by final figures on or before 31st January? That is certainly how it was up to now, unless this year something has changed.


Thanks (0)
19th Jul 2014 08:23

Not crazy!!

I have a couple of clients and Tax Credits means I'm doing their accounts now and not in January  - RESULT haha

Thanks (1)
19th Jul 2014 09:10


I am just glad my excuse 'My postman has stolen my post for the last 3 years never made the top ten.

Thanks (0)
20th Jul 2014 16:21

Self employed

Totally agree with Ian. It is hard enough to get figures from your clients for filing by 31st January, but near impossible to get them for 31st July. But I think the thought of getting some money for filing does spur them on. Although there is always at least one 'just waiting on one last invoice from a supplier'.

I think it is still possible to put in estimated figures, but this often results in the requirement to send all purchase and sales invoices, receipts and copies of bank statements.

Thanks (0)
By sba
21st Jul 2014 12:31

How about - I rang the Tax

How about - you rang the Tax Credits Office, they took the details of the information, then failed to input it; on complaining you are told "you can't do it by phone even if one of our advisers told you that your Renewal was complete and you didn't need to send in the form"


Thanks (0)