Friday, March 22, 2019

How to persuade the taxman your dog is a tax deductible business expense

Many years ago a publican had a meeting with a tax inspector in his pub. The publican had been claiming tax relief in respect the upkeep of his 'guard dog' but the taxman was unwilling to concede that this was acceptable.

The publican pointed out that upstairs in the pub were both the dog and the lunchtime takings. He invited the taxman to go upstairs, on his own, and if the taxman returned with the takings the publican would agree to add back the disputed expenses.

The taxman's refused to go upstairs and allowed the expense in full.

My thanks to Barry Jefford of George Hay, Chartered Accountants, for the story which was told to him by his client, being the publican in question.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Popular searches about tax and accountants

Listed below are some of the suggestions from Google based on popular searches.

Why is tax....
                      .... so high
                      .... important
                      .... theft
                      .... avoidance legal
                      .... avoidance unethical
                      .... going digital

Why are accountants....
                                     .... paid so much
                                     .... so boring
                                     .... so expensive
                                     .... so busy in January
                                     .... paid so little
                                     .... so arrogant
                                     .... underpaid
                                     .... in high demand

Friday, March 08, 2019

Famous classic films remade especially for accountants

Star Wars: Tax Return of the Jedi
Double Entry Indemnity, shown with: Double Insolvency
Journal to the Centre of the Earth
Abridged Too Far
Audit About Eve, and the follow up: Auditors of the Lost Ark
Trial balance of the century
VAT on a Hot Tin Roof
Evasion of the income snatchers
Far From the Adding Crowd
The Returns Of The Pink Panther
The Jungle Bookkeeper
Close enough encounters
Indiana Jones And The Ledgers Of Doom
Fatal subtraction, and the sequel: Fatal deduction

Any more?

Friday, March 01, 2019

6 fun quotes showing what Americans think about paying taxes

“The government deficit is the difference between the amount of money the government spends and the amount it has the nerve to collect.” – Sam Ewing
“And now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to take, if the tax-collector hasn’t got it before I wake.” – Ogden Nash
“There’s nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won’t cure.” – Dan Bennett
“Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what’s called a red flag. That’s something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That’s a red flag.” – Jay Leno
“Tax day is the day that ordinary Americans send their money to Washington, D.C., and wealthy Americans send their money to the Cayman Islands.” – Jimmy Kimmel
“It’s income tax time again, Americans: time to gather up those receipts, get out those tax forms, sharpen up that pencil, and stab yourself in the aorta.” – D. Barry

Friday, February 22, 2019

New taxes post Brexit

Here are some of the new taxes proposed to me when I asked for suggestions:

Richard StClair  - One rat pelt for every five rats caught for food must go to the crown

David Spottie Rogerson - A £10 fee on cutting devices used to behead amphibian animals. This is the one of very few newt axes the public will accept.

Rob Fox New levies on : French bread, Brussels sprouts, hamburgers, frankfurters, Irish coffee, Swedish chefs, Spanish onions, Greek olives, bulgar wheat, Dutch windmills, Danish bacon, Venetian blinds, Portuguese men'o'war ......

Chris M Boots A €1 tax on everyone who starts a sentence 'when we were in the EU' or 'before Brexit'.

Thomas Gardiner A tax on dating apps - the tax could increase with usage

Jerry Breslin Red carpet tacks for filmstars

A few English pedants also made suggestions, with which I have some sympathy

Mike Pearce So a tax on every person that starts a sentence with the word so and ends it with a rising inflection in their speech.

Kevin Chapman A tax should be payable by anyone who ends the words "something", anything" or "nothing" with a K

Margaret Bloomer Tax people who use the word 'like' every other word.

John Richardson Can I suggest an hyperbole tax? Special rates for those who use “super” instead of “very”; “life changing” instead of moderately useful etc

One of my favourites:
Kevin Chapman Charge VAT on footballer transfer fees at 40% then use it to pay nurses a decent wage.

And thank you too to Paul Coats for his related suggestion that:
Leaves means leave, where, unless you tidy up the fallen leaves around your town in the autumn, the local council can pack you off to Albania as an economic refugee.

Friday, February 15, 2019

An important lesson - Don't mess with old people

Back in the day when we had local tax inspectors HMRC decided to investigate 87 year old Grandpa, who was summoned to the Tax office.

The Tax Inspector was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his tax adviser.

The Tax Inspector said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure that I find that believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The Tax Inspector thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'

Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand pounds that I can bite my own eye.'

The Tax Inspector thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The Tax Inspector's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand pounds that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the Tax Inspector can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned Tax Inspector now realises he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's tax adviser as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand pounds that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The Tax Inspector, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again after checking a couple of details about the bet.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his trousers, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the Tax Inspector's desk.

The Tax Inspector leaps with joy, realising that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.

But Grandpa's tax adviser moans and puts his head in his hands.

'Are you okay?' the Tax Inspector asks.

'Not really,' says the tax adviser. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an investigation, he bet me twenty five thousand pounds that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'


Don't Mess with Old People!!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Using an Eastenders plot line as a business analogy isn't ideal

Limited Liability Partnerships first became a reality in the UK as from 6 April 2001. That morning I was interviewed on Radio 5 live and then on BBC Breakfast TV where I was asked the inevitable question "So what exactly is an LLP?"

I'd anticipated this and had tested a number of simple explanations that might make sense to the man in the street. The principal point I wanted to get across was that the members of an LLP are not jointly and severally liable as are the partners in a conventional business partnership.

In the end though I chose an analogy involving the previous night's episode of the popular TV soap, Eastenders. Viewers had just found out 'Who shot Phil Mitchell'.

So I explained: Take Eastenders for example, If Steve, Dan, Ian, Mark and Lisa were in a business partnership they could all be sued even though only one of them had done something wrong - but if they were in business as an LLP, only Lisa who did the dirty deed, could be sued."

I recall that Sara Coburn, the interviewer, only just managed to retain her composure. She explained to the viewers that she had never expected to be discussing Eastenders during the Business section of the programme.

For my part I was just relieved that no one who saw the show pointed out the flaw in my analogy: Shooting Phil was a criminal act and partners are NOT jointly and severally liable in such cases!

How to persuade the taxman your dog is a tax deductible business expense

Many years ago a publican had a meeting with a tax inspector in his pub. The publican had been claiming tax relief in respect the upkeep of ...