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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.'

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Are you a prostitute or are you an auditor?

1. You work very odd hours.

2. You are paid a lot of money to keep your client happy.

3. You are paid well but your pimp gets most of the money.

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The comedian Ken Dodd, was prosecuted for tax evasion in 1989 as has been mentioned on this blog before, here and here. I'd love to find a clip of him talking about it in his act. For now though here are a couple of references to comments he makes about the experience.

He is known to introduce himself as a “failed accountant”. That, he explains, is simply to establish a rapport with the audience. “People today are all stressed out about home economics, and accountants are the current bogeymen. [Since when?]

Dodd is the butt of a lot of his material and repeated references are made to his love of money, his dislike of what he insists on calling the Inland Revenue and his past run-in with them. “They sent me a self-assessment form the other day. To me! I invented self-assessment.”

During the trial it was revealed that Dodd had very little money in his bank account. He did however have £336,000 in cash stashed in suitcases in his attic. When asked by the judge, "What does a…