Friday, December 09, 2016

The 12 tax days of Christmas

Just spotted a wonderful topical piece on AccountingWeb.co.uk. The article contains a series of inventive and fiscally accurate explanations offered by Emily Coltman of FreeAgent as she analyses the tax consequences of every one of the gifts mentioned in the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

Emily imagines that the minstrel, whose "true love" gave all these gifts, needs help completing a tax return. What, imagines Emily, would be the income tax and VAT rules applicable to the gifts that make up the famous festive menagerie?

What follows is just a sample from some of the explanations. In each case Emily provides rather more detail than is appropriate for this fun blog ;-) 

A partridge in a pear tree This is what HMRC call a “mixed supply” for VAT, because it’s goods with different VAT rates supplied together. The pear tree is zero-rated for VAT, while the partridge, as an ornamental bird, would be standard-rated.  
Three French hens When goods of any kind are brought in from the EU and bought by a business that’s registered for UK VAT, the business has to work out and account for the VAT they would have paid if the item had been bought in the UK. 

Five gold rings If you’re buying an antique gold ring or other piece of second-hand jewellery, how would the seller work out VAT?

Six geese a-laying HMRC goes into a serious level of detail on this. The basic rule of thumb is that poultry kept for their meat or their eggs would be zero-rated for VAT, whereas ornamental birds would be standard-rated.

Eight maids a-milking Milkmaids need to live on the farm in order to be able to do their work properly; in order to do the morning milking they have to get up very early, and so it wouldn’t be practical or possible for them to commute. That means that the farmer can provide the milkmaids with living accommodation free of tax and National Insurance. 

Nine drummers drumming A drummer would have to buy his or her costume to perform in.  That might be a kilt, jacket and plaid for a drummer in a pipe band, or a suit for a jazz band drummer, and so on. He or she can then claim tax relief on the cost of that costume, because a costume for a performer is tax-deductible. 

Twelve lords a-leaping What would be the tax implications if these lords a-leapt out of the country? It depends why they’re a-leaping out and for how long.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The FD's assistant may not be quite right for the job

The company personnel department had carefully interviewed thirty-eight people for the job of assistant to the financial director.

The chief executive thought that one candidate - Charles - seemed ideal.

Charles had been to a major public school. Not only was he a qualified accountant, but Charles also had a masters degree in business administration. He seemed fully aware of the latest creative accountancy techniques.

'Charles,' said the chief executive, we've decided to offer you the job. And as you're so well qualified we've decided to start you off on a slightly higher salary than the one advertised. We'll pay you £36,000 a year.

'Thank you,' replied Charles. 'But how much is that per month?

Found on the KEEPERS ACCOUNTANCY website.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How strong is HMRC's case?

Years ago a senior official was talking about HMRC prosecution policy. He mentioned an occasion when he had lost a case and went back to his legal advisers to find out what had gone wrong.

"I thought you'd told me you thought we had a very strong case" he said. "So why did we lose?"

"Aha" said the lawyer, "You asked me what I thought and I told you that I felt that we had a very strong case. That was all you wanted to know.

Had you asked I'd have told you that I also thought the other side had a very strong case too."

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Alligator and the Tax Collector

A man walks into a restaurant with his pet alligator under his arm.

“Do you serve tax collectors?” he asks the barman.

“Of course” says the barman.

“Well” replies the man, “I’ll have a beer, and my alligator will have a tax collector.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tax avoidance schemes - an odd way to define what's legal and what isn't.

It is illegal to avoid telling the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing.    

Sounds weird but it's true. Sort of.

The actual law has had its wording twisted to make it seem funnier. The law actually requires a person to disclose schemes that are deliberately designed to avoid tax which would otherwise be due to HMRC.

Apparently it is an oversimplification of the Tax Avoidance Scheme Regs 2006, S.I. 2006 No 1543.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Rants against Tax Dodgers from The Last Leg

The clip below, from The Last Leg tv show includes some funny rants against those who avoid tax and accountants who promote tax avoidance schemes!

Bad language alert!




Friday, September 30, 2016

An accountant goes to the doctor....

An accountant knocks on the door of his doctor's surgery and walks in.
"Hello, doctor. Please help. I just don't know what's wrong with me. Goodbye."
With that he turns around and walks out.

30 seconds later he is back. "Hello again, doctor. Please help. I just don't know what's wrong with me."

The Doctor stands up behind his desk, looks the accoutant straight in the eye and says:
"Mmm. I think you have a serious case of double entry."