The Money Shot – lame excuses

Image of a parrot
A runaway parrot, yesterday
"Poor old Barack Obama was even blamed for one applicant not doing his form on time"
  • | by Kristian Dando

Most of us go through life having to play the occasional ‘lame excuse’ card now and then.

Of course, the Money Shot has a perfectly valid reason for being missing in action since June – it’s been on a journey of personal fulfilment and discovery, and has returned for 2015 reeking of incense and Zen, loudly recounting its amazing life-enhancing experiences to anyone who’ll listen.

Speaking of lousy excuses, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC to you and me) has issued a salvo of limp justifications it’s received for people not doing their tax return on time. There are some real belters in there.

Witness, for instance, the justification that a person handed theirs in late “because they fell in with the wrong crowd”. A crowd, presumably, who would cajole them into bunking off tax-return sessions to mooch about the local precinct, swigging energy drinks and goading passers-by.

But wait! They get even more surreal. “I’ve been busy looking after a flock of escaped parrots and some fox cubs,” pleaded one latecomer.

Another claimed they were “travelling the world, trying to escape from a foreign intelligence agency”, which sort of checks out. After all, when was the last time you saw James Bond filling in some tedious paperwork? Poor old Barack Obama was even blamed for one applicant not doing his form on time. And yes, somebody did actually say that their dog ate the form.

“People can have a genuine excuse for missing a tax deadline, but owning a pet with a taste for HMRC envelopes isn’t one of them,” tutted HMRC director general of personal tax Ruth Owen.

“You need to file your 2013-14 tax return online, and pay what you owe, by 31 January. But it’s best to do it now, to allow plenty of time to sort out any issues with your return. That way, you’ll avoid the busy period for our phone lines as the deadline approaches.”

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News in brief

First-time buyer levels have hit a seven-year high, according to a report from Halifax.

Poundstretcher was ‘buoyed’ by a bumper Christmas.

The Payments Council has revealed that Christmas Eve was the busiest day of 2014 for money withdrawals.

A full-on fixed-rate mortgage war has broken out, with lenders across the board offering super-low deals.

Get your van cleaned on us

Do you own or drive a van? Well, you could get it cleaned on us. To enter, simply send an email with the subject line ‘Clean My Van’, along with a contact number, to by 19 January, 2015 (terms and conditions apply).

On Covered mag this week

He may have left the building a long time ago, but Elvis' legacy is still big business, says Emily Bater.

Prepare to be shocked as Abbie Laughton-Coles blows the lid off hotel wi-fi charges.

Your 2015 holiday may be easier to book than ever.

Give your finances a shot in the arm for the forthcoming year.

Here are some New Year’s resolutions for you and your pet.

Join us next week for another thrilling instalment of the Money Shot. In the meantime, send your letters to