Friday, July 30, 2010

Split Personality

I am indebted to Taxation magazine following a case of what modesty prevents me claiming as 'great minds' thinking alike.

We've all been imagining what could happen in due course when the Office of Tax Simplification presents its first report.....

Instead of getting into my own Tardis, I will simply report on extracts of the outcome that Taxation have anticiapted

Tax News: 10 October 2010

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) today issued its first report, on the simplification of small business taxation.

The OTS tax director John Whiting said that the timetable for producing the report had been tight but he thought they had done a good job.

The reaction from professional bodies was, however, mixed. The Chartered Institute of Taxation had some serious concerns.

‘This report shows a worrying lack of consistency,’ complained CIOT policy director John Whiting.

'I am saddened that the OTS Tax Director did not feel able to resist this pressure from the Treasury side.’

However, for the OTS, Whiting rejected the accusations.

‘Anyone who believes that I have been influenced unduly by Treasury ministers does not know me very well. If the CIOT’s policy director wants to discuss this with me, he knows where to find me.’

Meanwhile, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group complained that the OTS was concentrating on the wrong problem.

They said that small businesses had advisers to help them find their way through the tax system, whereas many pensioners and other people on low incomes were struggling to understand complex tax calculations on their own.

‘The OTS needs to concentrate on the areas which really affect people,’ said LITRG spokesperson John Whiting. ‘That means simplifying the rules for those on lower incomes, including the rules for tax credits.’

Asked to respond to this attack, the OTS tax director became uncharacteristically irritated.

‘Look, everyone thinks this job is easy. If that LITRG spokesperson or the CIOT policy director think they could do it they’re welcome to try.’

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The 5 laws of accountancy

1. Trial balances don’t
2. Working Capital does not
3. Liquidity tends to run out
4. Return on investments never will
5. The bottom line is only the tip of the iceberg.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Twitter tax deductions for freelancers

Here is an extract from an Op-Art piece by Sam Potts in the New York Times. It seems to be an imagined tax form for the "marginally employed" and contains reference to various deductible expenses for freelancers:

The 'twitter deduction' starts with a note:
If you do not use twitter you do not qualify as a freelancer and may not use this form.

The Department of Treasury has determined that due to the huge amount of time that the freelance American workforce devote to tweeting, such activity shall be taxed according to the following formula [which I will not attempt to replicate here!]
The total deductions box at the foot of the page requires entries for, inter alia:
  • ordinary/necessary pyjamas (that satisfy the equivalent of UK's 'wholly and exclusively' rule
  • delayed adulthood penalty
  • time wasting allowance
  • your own personal navel blog
  • your food blog
  • your other food blog
  • tax tip webinars

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Personalised number plates for accountants

David Winch of Accounting Evidence is proud of his number plate that incorporates his qualification initials FCA.

An auditor is known to have had AUD 1T and a tax specialist had TAX 1NG

But my favourite is the ex-Inspector who had a number plate S99 TMA and who loved parking next to cars at conferences and other events, with VAT or TAX or CA on their plates just to give them an unsubtle reminder.

Any more stories or ideas for personalised number plates for accountants?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Tax cheats have less variation in hairstyles than benefit cheats

On Radio 4's The Now Show, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis recently suggested (series 31 episode 3) that:
"To the British, defrauding the DSS is a crime; defrauding HMRC is more of a sport."
To highlight the difference in approach they referenced the two separate online forms at
"The tax evasion hotline information report form and the 'report a benefit thief online form".
And they then compared aspects of the two forms:
"When grassing up the suspected villain, the tax fraud form asks you to provide approximate age, national insurance number and brief description of the person. The benefit fraud form asks you for: ethnic group, their build, their eye colour, eye wear, hair colour, hair type. It then gives you a separate menu of hair type options which include: afro, bald, dirty, dreadlocks, greasy, long, mohican, pony tail. All the classic hairstyles of the potentially criminal. And, brilliantly, 'wig'. That's right, if you're living next door to a toupee'd ethnic with glasses, get online now."

The journalist, the engineer, the lawyer and the accountant

A businessman was interviewing applicants for the position of Divisional Manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable perso...