Friday, March 27, 2009

The difference between short and long form tax returns

The difference between the short and long form income tax forms is simple.

If you use the short form, the taxman gets your money. If you use the long form, your accountant gets your money.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More tax funnies picked up from Twitter

Some of these fall into the sad but true (as in true that they appeared on twitter)

HMRC would love to investigate all one man band companies. Best example I have is taxing as benefit in kind a box of aspirin 38p.
@stuartjones

you need second sight to get round the HMRC website.. jokers
@mattspendlove

Still fighting with HMRC about 2005/06 penalty charge after online SA site went down - would send another email but....!
@DanDimmock

Waist high in the VAT section of the Inland Revenue website. A most absorbing place to be.
@DesignPome

Dear HMRC, tell me all the information I'll need to give you BEFORE I sit on hold for 15 minutes, especially when it's stupidly obscure
@Doubleshiny

Just had to call the Inland Revenue. Went well. Got on so well with the chap, in fact, that I think we might be spending Christmas together.
@rhodri

NORMAN GILLER IS INNOCENT OK! I promised my mate Norman I'd campaign for him as HMRC are stalking him for 0.01 pence in tax.
@Woodo

If you're on Twitter you can tell your followers about this by clicking here to: Tweet a link to this blog post. You can send the tweet, which contains a shortened link, as it is or you can edit it.
And you can follow me @bookmarklee.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The best tax related joke so far

HMRC decides to investigate 87 year old Grandpa, who is quickly summoned to the Tax office.

The Tax Inspector was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his tax adviser.

The Tax Inspector said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure that I find that believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The Tax Inspector thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.'

Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand pounds that I can bite my own eye.'

The Tax Inspector thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The Tax Inspector's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand pounds that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the Tax Inspector can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned Tax Inspector now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's tax adviser as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand pounds that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The Tax Inspector, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again after checking a couple of details about the bet.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his trousers, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the Tax Inspector's desk.

The Tax Inspector leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.

But Grandpa's tax adviser moans and puts his head in his hands.

'Are you okay?' the Tax Inspector asks.

'Not really,' says the tax adviser. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an investigation, he bet me twenty five thousand pounds that he could come in here and pee all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'

MORAL?

Don't Mess with Old People!!

Posted on AccountingWEB by 'Mark'

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Do accountants enjoy what they do?

Accountant one: You can't make a career out of doing something that you really enjoy as that would spoil it. It would cease to be pleasurable and it would become drudgery.

Accountant two: That's why we became accountants. It's something one isn't in danger of enjoying too much!

Friday, March 13, 2009

An Accountant's life

He was a very cautious man, who never romped or played.
He never smoked, he never drank, nor even kissed a maid.
And when he up and passed and away, insurance was denied.
For since he hadn't ever lived, they claimed he never died.

- Anon

Monday, March 09, 2009

The taxman calls us customers but I'd prefer to be called...

HMRC claim they need one word that covers both taxpayers and tax credit claimants. So they refer to us as 'customers' - despite the lack of correlation with conventional definitions of the word.

I've written about this on my TaxBuzz blog and have extracted the following for inclusion on this blog.

The first alternative I come up with was 'stakeholders'. But that probably goes too far. Other suggestions to date include:
- Tax Liability Owner
- Victims
- Lemons (as in "squeeze them until the pips squeak")
- "Codees" Anyone who deals with the tax authorities has to have a code, so that's the common element.
- The internal description - Punters?
- I was going to say Victims - but, as that's already taken, how about "Mugs"?
- Suckers seem appropriate for both parties only the first party should have blood tagged in front;
- Cash cow?
- How do pickpockets name their victims?
- Users of HMRC's services
- Citizens [although companies aren't citizens and you don't have to be a citizen to be subject to UK tax]
- Muggles - following on from 'mugs'. Also refers to those who don't quite understand the tax magic.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Accountants apply for McDonald’s jobs

Not a joke and not funny either but a clear sign of the times. The new Irish branch of McDonalds is reported to have had 500 applicants from accountants, bankers and architects.

Professionals are chasing ‘McJobs’ in Ennis, County Clare, where unemployment has jumped by 73% over the past year.

Franchisee Kieran McDermott said he had to do a double-take on some of the CVs he received. He was swamped with 500 applications in just 10 days, forcing him to take down the ‘now hiring’ banner.

It's been suggested that the situation could be repeated across Europe. McDonalds is one of the few employers still hiring, with plans to open a further 240 outlets in Europe.

Picked up via Twitter. With acknowledgements to Franchise Business Opportunities Weblog

Thursday, March 05, 2009

We had your tax return but we lost it....

Here are the bare bones of four sets of real-life circumstances which may make you smile but which contain a serious message:

1 - From HMRC: “We know that we received your return. We acknowledge that we lost it and we’re sorry about that. However, if you send us a copy now that won’t be good enough; we will charge a penalty. You must sign a fresh return.”

2 - “We know that we received your return. We processed it but then lost it. We now need to see a copy of it. Please send us a copy or we will charge you a penalty.” This may sound outrageous but in the case of Wilson (SpC724) HMRC issued a summons to obtain from the taxpayer a copy of the return that HMRC had lost. The Special Commissioners awarded a penalty of £300 against the taxpayer for failing to provide a copy to replace the original which HMRC had lost.

3 - “We know that you delivered the return to (another) HMRC office on Friday 30 January. Unfortunately, our colleagues at the other office forgot to stamp the return before this was sent to us. Without a stamp there is no proof of the date of receipt. We have to treat this as a late return and we will charge you a penalty.”

4 - A company’s tax return together with the accounts and tax computation were hand-delivered to a tax office. The tax office retained one of the three documents, sent another to the company’s current tax office and the other to the company’s old tax office. All three tax offices then wrote to the company saying that it had failed to file its return correctly due to the absence of the other two documents.

With due credit to George Bull, head of tax at Baker Tilly, who included these in last week's Tax Brief

Monday, March 02, 2009

'Ich bin ein storyteller', says UK taxman

A few hundred employers who received HMRC's latest "Employer Bulletin" were confused to find the accompanying CD did not contain the promised payroll software but children's stories - read aloud in fluent German.

Would-be payroll administrators instead received 16 CD audio files with titles such as Zwei Ordentliche Kinder (Two Ordinary Children), Der Flohzirkus (The Flea Circus) and Gespenster (Ghosts). Each features a kindly-sounding woman reading a short children's story, Jackanory-style.

I'm wondering if the stories are in any way linked to payroll problems. There's an obvious warning in the third one. After all a ghost employee is someone recorded on the payroll system, but who does not work for the business.

A topical story - picked up through Twitter. Full details courtesy of The Register.