Friday, July 31, 2009

It's all in a name - Will Ledger

You often hear stories about appropriately named officials in public sector bodies. But accountants? Here's the winning entry in a recent competition run by AccountancyAge. It was provided by Mike Broadway:

'I was articled to W D Menzies & Co [now Menzies] in the early 60's and one of the partners was a Mr William Ledger.

All articled clerks had to take a turn on the switchboard and it was amusing to hear clients asking to speak to "Mr Ledger, the accountant" as if it was a game of Happy Families.

'Our amusement didn't end there, as we also imagined the young William doing National Service as Private Ledger before taking a commission to become, eventually, General Ledger.

'Bill, as he was known, but not to his face, had in fact served in the Marines, making him "Sails" Ledger.

We finally planned a post-military career for Bill as the warden of a bird sanctuary - wait for it - "Perches" Ledger.

Have you ever encountered any other appropriately named accountants?

With thanks and due credit to AccountancyAge,
Taking Stock blog

Monday, July 27, 2009

A tax on toilet paper?

Only in America?!
The Water Protection and Reinvestment Act, includes provisions for what has been reported to be the Toilet Paper Tax.

It's not law yet - Representative Earl Blumenauer introduced the Bill that proposes this tax on July 15. According to his website the Bill:
“establishes a $10 billion annual fund for repairing America’s corroded pipes and overburdened sewer systems, which pose serious health, environmental, and security consequences.”
A fact sheet points out that part of this $10 billion will come from a “3% excise tax on items disposed of in wastewater, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, toilet paper and cooking oil.”

With thanks and due credit to Walter S. Bristow III, JD, CLU, ChFC who posted this story on his blog: Walt's Musings

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Neil has plenty to smile about

I met Neil Warren at the ICAEW Wyman debate last week and complimented him on his beaming smile. He explained that he has plenty to smile about as he supports Manchester United, Sussex County Cricket Club and he talks about VAT.

Somehow I doubt there are any other football and cricket fans who share that last passion.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A woman walks into an accountant's office.....

A woman walks into an accountant's office and tells him that she needs to file her taxes.

The accountant says, "Before we begin, I'll need to ask you a few questions." He gets her name, address, social security number, etc. and then asks, "What is your occupation?"

"I'm a whore," she says.

The accountant is somewhat taken aback and says, "No, No, No, that won't work. Let's try to rephrase that."

The woman says, "OK, I'm a high-end call girl."

"No, that still won't work. Try again."

They both think for a moment and the woman says, "I'm an elite chicken farmer."

The accountant asks, "What does chicken farming have to do with being a prostitute?"

"Well, I raised a thousand little peckers last year."

"Chicken Farmer it is."

Picked up on website: wicked thoughts (through Google Alerts)

Monday, July 20, 2009

What do you call HMRC?

The joint body formally known as Inland Revenue and HM Customs & Excise has been with us now for over 4 years following the merger in April 2005.

I heard recently that some refer to it as:

HM Mars C - emphasising that negotiations can be warlike (Mars being the Greek god of war)

HM Arsy - an equally negative sounding approach.

Any more?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tax rises and the Hissing Index

Last night's Wyman debate arranged by the ICAEW Tax Faculty was conducted in very good humour. The motion was "Assuming taxes rise which goose should be plucked first?"

One of the speakers, Trevor Evans (Ex-Director Business tax HMRC), focused on what he called the Hissing Index ("HI") which he suggested was much used in the corridors of power - Treasury and HMRC. This sounded, as intended I suspect, more like something that could have been derived from the days of 'Yes Minister'.

According to Trevor: HI is derived from the formula:
V x X x AF
where:
V = Volume of hissing per goose (ie: how much of a fuss is made by those required to pay additional taxes)
X = Number of geese being plucked (ie: how big is the group of geese that will be subject to additional taxes)
AF = Amplification Factor (This being a factor of the number of connections that a goose or gaggle of geese have eg: in the press, media, on TV news - or simply through being on first name terms with a Treasury Minister!).

Trevor then proceeded to identify which propositions had a High HI and encouraged the audience to vote for his proposition which, he claimed, would have a low HI.

(Maybe you had to be there!)

* The title was derived from a famous Jean Baptise Colbert quote.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

HMRC and the paperless office

Whilst many people aspire to move towards the 'paperless office' I heard reports recently of HMRC's approach.

It became apparent when they told an accountant that they had lost a client's papers. Indeed they admitted that
"We have no idea where a physical copy of the correspondence is."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Finance Bill of Fare

The menu for a recent banquet, at London's Mansion House, for tax practitioners was described as a Finance Bill of Fare. It included:
  • Warm sea trout (a fishy back duty case)
  • Supreme of guinea fowl (always charge in guineas)
The Lord Mayor also joked about a jaffa cake desert - is it a cake or a biscuit?

Accountancy magazine - to whom I must credit the story - suggest also that the background music was played on original statutory instruments and that the repertoire included pieces from Carousel (no fraud here).

Maybe you had to be there. If you were and you can fill in the menu gaps, please let me know.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Dr Who - Doddy and the RevenueMen


Just found this spoof video - created by dubbing the first few minutes of a 1980's episode of Dr Who (Sylvester McCoy) - when Bonnie Langford was his companion.

The Dr and his companion land the Tardis to find their client (Ken Dodd) needs their help to escape the dreaded Inland Revenue.

You'll have to watch it on YouTube as embedding has been disabled.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

MPs' second homes and their DOSH

Following all the pieces I've written about the tax aspects of MPs' expenses on the Tax Buzz blog this item rightly appears here instead.

It's an idea I saw mentioned in a letter to Taxtion magazine from a Mike Holland.

He suggests there should be a further extension of the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime. This would require disclosures from MPs who nominate a series or succession of properties as second homes.

Mike suggests that an appropriate title for the legislation would be the Disclosure of Second Homes - DoSH!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Alan Partridge meets the Inland Revenue



It's a random enquiry.
He can't recall whether it's avoidance or evasion that's illegal.
"Cash in hand - is not a phrase we like"
Ignore the bit in the middle with the builder.
"Did you tell the tax people that they won't find your money?"

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Why Tony Blackburn uses an accountant


I let my accountant do my tax returns because it saves time...
........sometimes as much as ten years.

Tweeted by @TonyBlackburn on 6 July.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The art of taxation - plucking geese


It was in the 17th century that Jean-Baptiste Colbert (who was French Finance Minister under King Louis XIV of France) originated the suggestion that
"the art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing".
I noted recently that John Whiting says:
"It's very important the corollary is that the goose deserves a say in which feathers are taken and how."

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Daft names for accounting roles

  • Bookkeeper = Ledger Completion Manager
  • Payroll clerk = Government Deduction Compliance Assistant
  • Financial manager = Future Spend Calculation Manager
  • Filing Tax Returns = Statutory Revenue Completion and Filing Contractor
  • Office clerk = Photocopy Facilitator
  • Tax adviser = Revenue detraction monitor
  • Receptionist = Client Hospitality Manager
  • Audit manager = Figurative bullshit researcher
  • Accountant (in a firm) = Client Service Manager
Thanks and credit to Andy Tomlin of AT Accounting who tweeted most of these recently

Any more?