Friday, September 19, 2014

It's official: HMRC writes "ridiculous" "nonsense"

Given this is a fun blog it's not usual for me to reference the decision in a tax tribunal. But it was impossible to resist when I heard about what the tribunal said.

Mr South was appealing against a late filing penalty in respect of his tax return for 2012/13.  HMRC claimed to have sent him a notice requiring him to file the return in question. The computer then sent an automatic penalty which was what alerted Mr South to the need to file the return.

He was reluctant to pay the late filing penalty as he had not received a 'notice to file' and had not been required to file returns every year in the recent past. 

Mr South then received a rejection of his appeal sent by an official from HMRC who said: 
“On reviewing I can see that no evidence to date has been received confirming that you did not receive a tax return or notice to file.”
In reaching their decision that Mr South did NOT need to pay the penalty the Tribunal said:
The result of [Mr South's] appeal is a piece of nonsense and shows that the appeal was not properly considered by HMRC. It is ridiculous to expect the appellant to produce evidence to show he did not receive the tax return or notice to file. 
Steven Maurice South vs HMRC -12 August 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

An accountant with a STANDOUT way of describing himself

The way Mark Asquith, Managing Director of Asquith & Co, describes himself, on the meet the team page of his website, certainly makes him stand out. I'm referring especially to the table beneath the more conventional opening paras:
I have been working in accountancy since 1982 having started work as a spotty trainee on leaving school. Asquith & Co became a reality in 2001 although I had previously hankered after being self-employed. 
I love helping clients to keep just on the right side of the taxman while, hopefully, having a few laughs on the way - this is not easy but I do try.
                   Specialist subject:     Saving you money
                   Likes:                        Saving you money
                   Dislikes:                    Not saving you money 
                   Favourite colour:       Black... keeping you in it
                   Favourite food:         Roast taxman 
                   Favourite place:       Judo mat
                   Currently drives:       The taxman crazy
 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tax flags

A British guy was chatting with his American friend and was jokingly explaining about the red, white and blue in our National flag.

"Our flag symbolises our taxes," he said. "We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them."

"That's the same with us," the American said, "only we see stars, too."

Friday, August 22, 2014

When a young accountant bought a donkey

Many years ago a young accountant, Warren, moved to the country and bought a donkey from an old farmer for £200.

The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. When he drove up the farmer said: "Sorry son, but I have some bad news. The donkey died."
Warren replied, "Well then, just give me my money back." The farmer said, "Can't do that. I've gone and spent it already." Warren said, "OK, then just unload the donkey."

The farmer asked, "What ya gonna do with him?" Warren replied: "I'm going to raffle him off." Farmer: "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!" Warren was insistent: "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody he is dead."

A month later the farmer met up with Warren and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?" 

Warren replied: "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at £2 a piece and made a profit of £800."

The farmer was astonished: "Didn't anyone complain?"

Warren replied: "Just the guy who won. So I gave him his £2 back."

Rumour has it that some years later Warren returned to the City and joined one of the largest firms of accountants, where he eventually became senior partner.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Very thick skinned accountant wanted by boss of Ryanair

I was amused by this headline in The Times: Wanted by Ryanair: accountant, very thick-skinned.
Rarely does an accountancy job qualify as a hazardous posting in a hostile environment. However, there is a vacancy for a personal aide to the notoriously volatile boss of Ryanair.
The Irish airline is advertising for an “assistant to Ryanair’s CEO”, Michael O’Leary, stipulating an “ambitious qualified accountant” able to work in a “demanding, challenging and interesting role”.

Good luck if this appeals and you get the job!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Death and Taxes and Zombies

The following academic paper was brought to my attention after I tweeted a link to a newspaper report that incorrectly implied that more and more people are being 'hit' by inheritance tax while they are still alive.
This article fills a glaring gap in the academic literature by examining how the estate and income tax laws apply to the undead. Beginning with the critical question of whether the undead should be considered dead for estate tax purposes, the article continues on to address income tax issues the undead are likely to face. In addition to zombies, the article also considers how estate and income tax laws should apply to vampires and ghosts. Given the difficulties identified herein of applying existing tax law to the undead, new legislation may be warranted. However, any new legislation is certain to raise its own set of problems. The point here is not to identify the appropriate approach. Rather, it is to goad Congress and the IRS into action before it is too late.
The paper was inspired by the following perception:
The U.S. stands on the precipice of a financial disaster, and Congress has done nothing but bicker. Of course, I refer to the coming day when the undead walk the earth, feasting on the living. A zombie apocalypse will create an urgent need for significant government revenues to protect the living, while at the same time rendering a large portion of the taxpaying public dead or undead. The government’s failure to anticipate or plan for this eventuality could cripple its ability to respond effectively, putting us all at risk. 
Death and Taxes and Zombies was written by Adam Chodorow of Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and published July 5, 2012
98 Iowa Law Review 1207 (2013) 

With many thanks to Iain Campbell for the link