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The Unbelievable Truth - Tax

On the Radio 4 show, The Unbelievable Truth, Panellists are required to tell lies about a subject and to try and smuggle a few truths past their fellow pannelists as they do so.

During the New Year Special, John Lloyd had to speak on the subject of "Tax".

He told a number of contrived tales that included lies, perhaps the best of which was that in Scotland income tax day is commonly known as Hog Money.

Alleged truths smuggled past include:
  • Bagpipes can enter America tax free
  • On the day PAYE was to be introduced, Sir Kinglsey Wood, the pioneer of PAYE collapsed and died.
A fascinating 'truth' shared during the programme concerned German tax collector Karl Doberman who was (unsurprisingly) not welcome when he went to collect money. To protect himself he bred large fierce dogs that became known as Doberman pinschers.

Panel show host David Mitchell added the observation that in the first century, tax hungry Emperor Nero went so far as to impose a tax on the collection of urine. Apparently he was widely considered to be taking the piss.
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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.

4. You spend a majority of your time in a hotel room.

5. You charge by the hour but your time can be extended.

6. You are not proud of what you do.

7. Creating fantasies for your clients is rewarded.

8. It's difficult to have a family.

9. You have no job satisfaction.

10. If a client beats you up, the pimp just sends you to another client.

11. You are embarrassed to tell people what you do for a living.

12. People ask you, "What do you do?" and you can't explain it.

13. Your client pays for your hotel room plus your hourly rate.

14. Your client always wants to know how much you charge and what they get for the money.

15. Your pimp drives nice cars like Mercedes or Jaguars.

16. Your pimp encourages drinking and you become addicted to drugs to ease the pain of it all.

17. You know the pimp is charging more than you are worth but if the client…

Ken Dodd and the Inland Revenue

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…