Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Opening post for a client....

One accountant I know had a client who never opened any official looking envelopes. The accountant had to do this when he visited each month. And he then told the client what action needed to be taken in each case.

In an effort to get the client to open letters from the accountant himself he started sending them in distinctive grey coloured envelopes. However the client rarely opening these either. On one occasion the accountant wrote: "I'm writing this letter knowing that I'll be the one to open it when I come to visit you next month."

On another occaison the accountant sent his bill in a pretty coloured envelope. The accompanying letter started: "I hope you like the envelope. I used it in the hope that you'll have opened it without realising it was from me!"

Monday, May 18, 2015

10 ways you know you're an accountant

You know you're an accountant when.....
.....Friends always ask YOU to divide the restaurant bill and the tip.
.....When you tip the waitress you wonder who the troncmaster is.
.....You are always expected to be the one controlling the fund for office sweepstakes, lottery and fantasy football syndicates.
.....Strangers sidle up to you at parties and ask "How do I pay less tax?"
.....You can repeat all the HMRC 'on hold' messages word perfectly.
.....You have THAT poster on your wall: "I used to be an accountant, until I discovered Smirnoff." .....When you pop into an independent retail outlet you wonder how much profit they make.
.....You refuse to buy certain products retail because you know how big the sales margin is.
.....You have quoted certain tax cases (eg: Mallalieu v Drummond) so often you know how to spell the obscure names involved.
.....You count an unnumbered list like this one to see whether it really contains 10 items. (It does now!)

This list was inspired by a similar piece on AccountingWeb.co.uk

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Irregular verbs - tax

At it's simplest perhaps we have:

I only pursue approved tax incentives
You look for tax avoidance opportunities
He breaks the law and evades tax

A variation on this is:
I pay all the tax due
You look for easy ways to avoid paying all the tax due
He engages in aggressive tax planning

A new version has just appeared online. It parodies how Margaret Hodge might explain herself following recent revelations about her benefitting from the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) she has ridiculed whilst Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

I manage my financial affairs sensibly 
 You engage in aggressive avoidance 
 He/She is a slimy tax cheat

This was first posted by Tom McClelland on AccountingWeb.co.uk.

There have been other examples of irregular tax verbs in the past. I spotted this one that relates to the different ways the Coalition government has supported investment in shale gas and the renewables sector.

I receive public spending
You get tax incentives
He gets a subsidy

What further variations can you come up with?

Monday, April 20, 2015

The liar, the Revenue and the wardrobe

A little late to the party on this one, but worth recording for posterity. And yes, the title is a variation on the same theme adopted in most other reports of this story.

A bookkeeper, keen to avoid arrest in connection with a £140,000 VAT fraud, hid in her bedroom wardrobe.  Unsurprisingly, after looking under her bed, the wardrobe was the next place that police officers looked.

The accused, Donna Magee (44), was arrested by HMRC in February 2012. Concerns had been raised by reference to fraudulent VAT repayments for the construction of non-existent new business premises.  She has since been tried, found guilty and sentenced.

Mike Parkinson, of HMRC, explained that the investigation shows that tax fraudsters have "no place to hide".  That is certainly true for those who attempt to hide in their own bedrooms!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A '50 shades of tax' pun

"I use gaffer tape to stick down the envelope for my tax return... 

 Cos its Tax duct tapeable. DUCT TAPEABLE"

With all due credit to Arnie Haybridge who posted this on twitter

Friday, February 13, 2015

The importance of getting your tax return right

HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) has returned a Tax Return to a man in STANSTED after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly.
In response to the question: "Do you have anyone dependant on you?" he wrote:
2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crackheads, 4.4 million unemployable Jeremy Kyle scroungers, 900,000 criminals in over 85 prisons plus 650 idiots in Parliament and the whole of the European Commission.
HMRC stated that the response he gave was unacceptable.
The man's response back to HMRC was simple:
SORRY - Who did I miss out?
Many thanks to Brian Cruickshank for highlighting this for me. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Hugh's new client

The following story comes from long-time subscriber to my newsletters and blog posts, Hugh Dunlop.

Hugh is a practicing accountant who is close to retirement in Scotland. He tells of a self employed person who came to him a couple of years ago to file the SA100 tax return.
As it was the first year of the business and he had previously been employed under PAYE I was able to get him a tidy tax rebate. 
In 2014 I told him that he had made a profit just under the personal allowance and as a result he would have no tax to pay. The reply was 'Does that mean I won't get a tax rebate again?' I said that as he had not paid any tax he could not get one. 'OH. Does that mean I won't have to pay you?'
Some clients just don't get it do they?