by Allen J. Sheinman | April 06, 2012
The list

It's spring: The birds are chirping, the buds are blooming -- and tax time is looming. Given human nature, it can sometimes prove impossible to meet the April deadline (this year it's the 17th). The following reasons for failure to file on time were actually submitted to various local/federal tax authorities -- who quickly rejected them. They are recorded here verbatim, minus case-law attributions for reasons of privacy. These and more than 500 other documented explanations were collected over the years by a former IRS attorney and can be found on an entertaining website called The Mother of All Excuses Place (

1. I voluntarily opted out of the Federal tax system so that I could do more for my community, my fiancee, my country and the State of North Dakota.

2. I didn't lodge my tax returns from 1980 to 1987 because I was distracted from that task by severe difficulties which my daughter was experiencing in her relationship with a man of bad character.

3. After I separated from my spouse I developed a "don't care" attitude, which led to my failure to file any state tax returns for the tax years of 1990 through 1997.

4. I asked my wife to file our tax returns, but she refused to do it. This was a battle of stubbornness.

5. The bookkeeper was injured in an accident and couldn't work, and I also was injured in an accident and then became pregnant so I couldn't work, and when I came back to work the computer system had crashed so the records were lost.

6. Petitioner maintains that soon after he became self-employed in 2000, he experienced a serious and debilitating dependency on alcohol, which dependency ultimately rendered him unable to perform most routine daily tasks, including the filing of income tax returns.

7. We didn't file our 1993, 1994 and 1995 Income Tax returns until December of 1996 because at the time those returns were due we were undergoing an IRS audit for our 1990, 1991 and 1992 Income Tax returns.

8. We switched bookkeepers, the old bookkeeper thought that the new one would file the tax return, and the new bookkeeper thought that the old one had filed the tax return.

9. I diagnosed myself as suffering from a bipolar mental disease characterized by mania and depression, which caused me to engage in spending binges and illusions of grandeur, and to not file my tax returns.

10. When I was audited by the IRS many years ago the IRS agent told me that he had never seen a taxpayer as scrupulous and honest in his affairs as me, and that I would never have to file a tax return again.

11. We shouldn't be taxed on the business we did in New York State because we didn't obtain the required certificate to do business in New York State.

12. My wife, who takes care of the family tax matters, had significant stress-related memory problems and was suffering from serious panic attacks and insomnia and gastro problems, and when I attempted to take care of the tax returns I was so overwhelmed by my wife's condition that I couldn't file the returns either, and we didn't get around to filing the returns until my wife went to live with her parents.

13. I stopped filing my tax returns because every time I sent something to the IRS, it just got them more provoked and they would come after me.

14. I didn't file my tax return because I had broken parole and did not want to put myself on record where I could be located.

15. I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance.

Source: The Mother of All Excuses Place;