Thursday, December 27, 2007

What it means to be a customer of HMRC

Dear Inspector of Taxes
I see from your website that you now regard me as a customer. This makes you my supplier and I am therefore writing to tell you that I have decided to look for an alternative supplier. This is your last chance to improve your service.

Let me tell you why my wife and I are fed up to the back teeth with the way you have looked after us of later:
- To help even out our cashflow, when we have surplus funds, we lodge them with you as a pre-payment of part of our forthcoming tax bill. However you hardly ever send us statements that show us where we stand with you and when you do send them, they are quite impossible to check or to understand what they mean;
- You never seem to answer the telephone;
- You and your colleagues take an age to deal with the enquiries my accountant has raised with you; and
You seem happy to threaten distraint proceedings at the drop of a hat - never a good idea from a customer service point of view.

If you really were a business you'd have gone bust years ago. You seem to have no idea about how to look after your customers.

As you can see I have become a thoroughly disgruntled and miserable customer. I will never recommend your services to any friend of mine and I long to take my business elsewhere. The problem I face is that there doesn't seem to be any other suppliers of whatever it is you supply.

Yours faithfully.
The above letter was written to the Tax Office by a taxpayer who copied it to his accountant Huw Williams of HM Williams, Chartered Accountants who included it in his newsletter 'Account' 'with a heavy heart'.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Public Accounts Committee interviews Trevor Wooley - MOD

During the Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing on the privatisation of QinetiQ, 3 December 2007, the Committee invited the Ministry Of Defence’s Trevor Woolly in for questioning.

What follows is an extract of a verbatim exchange at the start of his interview:

MR RICHARD BACON MP (CON, S. NORFOLK): Mr Woolley, are you a chartered accountant?
MR WOOLLEY: I am not.
BURTON: Are you a qualified financial person of any kind? Do you have any financial qualifications?
WOOLLEY: I do not have financial qualifications
BURTON: What is your job?
WOOLLEY: I am the finance director of the Ministry of Defence.


Christmas puzzle

Imagine you are walking down the street late on Christmas eve when you think you see, ahead of you, three characters: A sweet natured, happy and helpful tax inspector, an aggressive, unpleasant and uncommercial tax inspector and a large jolly Father Christmas. As you watch them, you see them stop outside a bank where someone seems to have left a pile of cash just lying around.

Which of the 3 characters do you see picking up the cash and why?

At the risk of confirming unfair stereotypes. The answer is:
The nasty horrible tax inspector - as the other two don't really exist!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas carols (2)

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Hated paying NIC
Went to a sharp adviser
Paid the man a hefty fee

He told the other reindeer
You should do the same as me
Go and see my adviser
Get yourself an MSC

Then one foggy Christmas eve, the taxman came to say:
"Your idea was not so bright
You owe tax, you're banged to rights"

So all the deer were bankrupt
Didn't have a bean they said
Now taxman's after Santa
He'll be really in the red.

Written by Chris Williams of Baker Tilly and
first published in Taxation magazine 20 December 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas carols (1)

We nick ye merry gentlemen and confiscate your sleigh
For using it to bootleg booze and ciggies from Calais
To you we're wise, you've dodged excise,
We've tailed you all the way.
You're go-o- ing to pris-i-on old boy!
Oh what a joy!
You're go-o-ing to Wormwood Scrubs old boy!

Written by Chris Williams of Baker Tilly and first published in Taxation magazine 20 December 2007

The journalist, the engineer, the lawyer and the accountant

A businessman was interviewing applicants for the position of Divisional Manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable perso...