Australians have offered up a range of bizarre excuses for missing the deadline to file their tax returns.
‘Holiday brain’ was among the reasons for filing a late return, in addition to someone having their pants stolen.
Another person blamed a mouse for eating their receipts, according to the Australian Tax Office.
About 475,000 taxpayers lodge late returns in 2018 and the ATO has warned people they have less than two weeks to file their tax before the October 31 deadline.
‘I’ve got holiday brain, so I forgot’ one taxpayer told the ATO, after handing in their return late (stock image)
The penalty for late lodgement can be as high as $1,050 – which is almost the entire amount of the $1,080 tax cut that many Australians have been receiving.
Those using a tax agent have longer to complete their tax but they need to be registered with them by 31 October.
The top weirdest tax time excuse ever offered to the ATO was from a man who had left the pants of his uniform in his car.
He said he couldn’t provide the receipt because a thief had broken into the car and stolen his pants. He said the receipt had been in the pocket of his pants.
The ATO said missing receipts were the top problem for which taxpayers gave excuses.
One taxpayer said their receipts washed away when they drove through a car wash (stock image)
Many taxpayers seemed to get into strife when leaving their receipts in the car, including one taxpayer that said a mouse had ‘broken in’ to the car and ate the receipts.
Another taxpayer said their receipt had been washed away when they drove their car through a car wash.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat said it was quite common for people to lose track of receipts, sometimes throwing them out by mistake thinking they don’t need them anymore.
‘We often hear some pretty creative excuses around tax time, ranging from why someone has lost their records, missed the deadline, excluded income, or over claimed on deductions,’ she said in a media release on Friday.
One taxpayer said they simply forgot to lodge their return because they had ‘holiday brain’ after returning from a trip away.
ATO Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat (pictured) said it is easy to lodge your tax return online and many people do it from the comfort of their loungeroom in half an hour
Ms Foat said it was important not only that people meet the deadline but also that they complete their return accurately including all income, and that they can account for all claims.
‘We know that tax can seem complicated, which is why we see so many people putting it off,’ she said.
‘People should know that it’s actually becoming increasingly quick and painless to lodge your return.’
Ms Foat said the majority of taxpayers took less than half an hour to complete their tax return which can be done online by logging into myTax, accessed via the myGov website.
One taxpayer told the ATO that a mouse ‘broke in’ to their car and ate their receipts
‘Where people put off their returns and lodge at the last minute or even after the deadline, we also start to see some easily avoidable errors,’ she said.
Ms Foat reminded people to keep receipts for all the deductions they want to claim as the ATO can ask taxpayers to substantiate the claims at any time up to five years after the return is lodged.
‘It can be difficult to keep track of all your physical receipts. That’s why keeping a digital copy, for example, through the ATO app’s myDeductions tool, can be a real lifesaver. In fact, we’ve already seen a 43% increase in myDeductions usage this year,’ she said.
About 10 million individuals lodge tax returns in Australia each year.
Of the 475,000 late lodgers last year, 300,000 had been missing out on refunds, the ATO said.
This year, the ATO has received about 8.7 million lodgements and has released $20 billion in tax refunds so far.
The penalty for individuals failing to lodge is one penalty unit of $210 for every 28 days that your return is overdue, up to a maximum of $1,050.