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It depends on the database back-end. The only one I know of that doesn't support comments is MS Jet (which is used for text files, Excel workbooks and Access databases). It's a pain - but it's not Tableau's fault.
Thanks for your response Richard. You're spot on as I'm connecting to an Excel file. I think there's probably been enough said about the accursed MS Jet engine elsewhere in this forum without me adding more.