Thursday, April 26, 2007

The dog and duck

Many years ago a publican had an afternoon 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 replied 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 addback the disputed expenses. The taxman's response was to allow 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.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Gordon and the donkey

Many years ago a young Scot called Gordon bought a donkey from an old farmer for £100.00. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day. When the farmer drove up the next day, he said, "Sorry son, but I have some bad news...the donkey is on my truck, but he's dead."

The young Scotsman replied, "Well then, just give me my money back." The farmer confessed, "I can't do that. I've already spent it." The Scotsman said, "OK then, just unload the donkey anyway". The farmer asked, "What are you going to do with him?" The young man said, "I'm going to raffle him off." To which the farmer exclaimed, "You can't raffle off a dead donkey!" But the Scot, with a big smile on his face, said "Of course I can. Just watch me. I just won't tell anybody that he's dead."

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

The young Scot said, "I raffled him off. I sold 500 tickets at two pounds a piece and made a huge profit." Totally amazed, the farmer asked, "Didn't anyone complain that you had stolen their money because you lied about the donkey being dead?" And the young man replied, "The only person who found out about the donkey being dead was the raffle winner, when he came to claim his prize. So I gave him his £2 back plus £200 extra, which is double the going value of a donkey, and he thought I was wonderful."

The young Scotsman grew up and eventually became the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and no matter how many times he lied or how much money he stole from the voters, as long as he gave some of them back some of the stolen money, most of them thought he was wonderful.

The moral of this story is that, if you think Gordon is about to play fair and do something for the everyday people of the country think again my friend, because you'll be better off flogging a dead donkey.

[Variations on this modern fable have been circulating on the internet in recent weeks so I thought I should include a copy here for posterity]

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tax Rap

Sounds crazy but a top US tax software supplier recently arranged a competition to find the best tax rap! The winner was announced on 15 April 2007.

Here it is:

TurboTax Winning Rap

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Accountants top the poll but only for one surgeon in five

Five surgeons are discussing who makes the best patients to operate on.

The first surgeon says, "I like to see accountants on my operating table, because when you open them up, everything inside is numbered."

The second responds, "Yeah, but you should try electricians! Everything inside them is colour coded."

The third surgeon says, "No, I really think librarians are the best; everything inside them is in alphabetical order."

The fourth surgeon chimes in: "You know, I like builders...those guys always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end, and when the job takes longer than you said it would."

But the fifth surgeon shut them all up when he observed: "You're all wrong. Politicians are the easiest to operate on. There's no guts, no heart, and no spine, and the head and backside are interchangeable."

Monday, April 02, 2007

The over zealous tax inspector

At the end of the tax year the Tax Office sent an inspector to audit the books of a synagogue. While he was checking the books he turned to the Rabbi and said, "I notice you buy a lot of candles. What do you do with the candle drippings?" "Good question," noted the Rabbi. "We save them up and send them back to the candle makers, and every now and then they send us a free box of candles."

"Oh," replied the inspector, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious way: "What about all these matzo purchases? What do you do with the crumbs?" "Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, realising that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question. "We collect them and send them back to the manufacturers, and every now and then they send a free box of matzo balls."

"I see," replied the inspector, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all Rabbi. "Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the leftover foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?" "Here, too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi. "What we do is save up all the foreskins and send them to the Tax Office....

.....and about once a year they send us a complete dick."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Inland Revenue letter published in the Guardian some years back

Dear Mr Addison,
I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise. I will address them, as ever, in order. Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we, at the Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy; traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised. In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin” or, come to that, a "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services", a moment's rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself. The estimates you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles" and "dancing whores" whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking fa├žade of a university system."

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:
1. The reason we don't simply write "Muggins" on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;
2. You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrows of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medicallogistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India" you would still owe us the money.

Please forward it by Friday.

Yours Sincerely,
H J Lee
Customer Relations