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The Inland Revenue episode of QI

A recent episode of the current series of BBC TVs QI focused on the Inland Revenue. Clearly no one had told the researchers or producers that HMRC took over from the Inland Revenue almost 7 years ago (April 2005).

Still, that quibble aside, some of the stories are worth repeating on this blog:

The world's most exotic tax inspectors are in Pakistan. If you refuse to pay your tax you are shamed into paying it by receiving a visit from a team of tax inspectors who are all transgender. They would then sing and dance in your place of business until you paid up. In Andhra Pradesh, India, tax inspectors use drummers to get people to pay tax, by standing outside the place of business and banging on the drums loudly until they pay up. The comedians on the show considered how the 'Inland Revenue' might achieve a similar outcome here. The favoured conclusion was to send in the Morris Dancers.

Sandi Toksvig once spent three days with a tax man who investigated all of her accounts. In the end he did not find anything and the taxman said: "To be honest Miss Toksvig, I just wanted to meet you."

Dara O'Briain recalled an actor who tried to claim his carpet against tax because of the wear and tear he caused when he walked up and down while he learnt his lines. He did not get away with it. Dara himself once tried to claim for a bed but failed, while Sandi attempted to claim for some paintings in her office, failing as well. She told the tax inspector that no-one could possibly work in an office which had no art in it. Sandi looked around the inspector's office and saw that it had just one poster in it, which explained the Heimlich manoeuvre.
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One, but he'll have 1500 of them to do on 31st January.

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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.

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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…