Monday, March 24, 2008

Sir Nicholas Montagu on University Challenge

Just came across this old story featuring the then Chairman of Inland Revenue - before the merger with Customs & Excise that created HMRC. My two year term as Chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty overlapped his tenure so I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions.
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In 2002 the then chairman of the Inland Revenue was left red-faced on TV's University Challenge by a rather taxing question about VAT. Sir Nicholas Montagu failed to work out a simple sum which asked him to calculate 17.5% of a given figure.

He was appearing on University Challenge Reunited, which brings back champions from previous years, with team-mates from New College, Oxford.

The 1964 title holders were competing against 1994 winners Trinity College, Cambridge in the BBC2 quiz show.

When the tax question came up, Montagu struggled to work it out while Cambridge instantly buzzed in with the correct answer, much to the amusement of host Jeremy Paxman. 'I would have thought you would get that, being head of the Inland Revenue,' Paxman said, to which Montagu replied: 'Actually, that's a different department.'

Monday, March 10, 2008

Me, myself and I

Another story courtesy of Nichola Ross Martin, who is a tax adviser.

Apparently she was told many years ago by the Inland Revenue, as they were in those days, that as a sole practitioner she could not discuss her own personal tax affairs without a 64-8.


As Nichola explains:

“I started to explain that I was me, but got nowhere and I duly obliged and made myself my own agent. I still represent myself as it goes!

Something that amuses me in a small way is that my reference with me is MYSELF. I did it like that so it would stand out and I wouldn't put the post in the wrong hands, but always do a double take when I see it and have a giggle.”

Sunday, March 09, 2008

All in a name...

Nichola Ross Martin tells the story that:

I have been calling myself a tax consultant for years rather than an accountant. I did call myself a tax advisor once when an old school friend asked - she misheard though and thought I said "Taxi driver" so I don't use that one any more!

[Repeated with permission]