Friday, February 28, 2014

Why Tax Returns Belong With Cake - alledgedly

Regular readers of my main website will know I am keen on the idea of accountants and bookkeepers standing out from the crowd. One lady who does this in a unique way is Rosie Slosek of 'one man band accounting'.

Her website has a distinct feel about it - beyond the fact that she has a single clearly defined target audience - which you might guess from the name of her site.

Rosie, who offers bookkeeping services to one man bands, seems to be almost obsessed with cakes and brownies!  The menu bar at the top of her site starts, on the left, as usual with 'home'. The next item though is 'cake'. The cake page explains that Rosie sends one of her signature home made brownies to each new client. Her intention is to "turn Accounts Time into You Time".

On her blog Rosie shares 3 reasons that tax returns belong with cake.

She explains that baking is like bookkeeping in that you need to do a lot of precise things in the right order. With baking, you get a delicious cake, biscuit or brownie at the end.

She also explains how she gets to enjoy doing bookkeeping.

  • Create a good environment: put on some music, clear some space 
  • Give a little luxury: get yourself a cuppa or a glass of wine 
  • Add some sweetness: a slice of cake or a gooey brownie 
It’s easier than you think. It’s training your brain to associate lovely things with your bookkeeping instead of ‘oh no, not this again’. Bookkeeping = good music, a fabulous drink and delicious cake.
I must admit, Rosie may have a point!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Outrageous pop stars do it to avoid tax

The Swedish pop group Abba are reported to have admitted in a book, that the outrageous outfits they wore on stage in their heydey were chosen to avoid tax.

It seems the Swedish tax code is similar to that of the UK when it comes to claiming tax relief for clothing. To ensure that their stage outfits were allowable deductions the costumes had to be so outrageous that they couldn't be worn on the street. Apparently many Swedish bands made as habit of dressing as flamboyantly as possible.

Reflecting on the group's sartorial record in a new book, Bjรถrn Ulvaeus said: "In my honest opinion we looked like nuts in those years. Nobody can have been as badly dressed on stage as we were."

Clearly Bjorn has forgotten about the British glam rockers of the 1970s - many of whom wore equally outrageous outfits.  I'm thinking of the Sweet, T-Rex, Slade - there are many such examples from my youth. Who'd have thought they chose their outfits to avoid tax?!

And, even though this is my 'lighter side' blog, I should stress two points:

  1. I doubt that the facility to deduct the cost of stage costumes from their earnings was uppermost in many minds at the time - other than perhaps that of Abba. 
  2. Why are the media reporting this as tax avoidance anyway? All the band did was to ensure that there could be no argument that their stage clothes qualified for tax relief. Any sensible person does the same thing as regards all genuine business expenses.

Monday, February 17, 2014

A taxing approach to Valentine's Day

On Valentine's Day HMRC issued a prompt to anyone claiming tax credits, who has a partner moving in with them, to say those three little words.........

"....Tell the Taxman."

Tax credit claimants who don’t keep HMRC up to date about their circumstances risk getting an overpayment, a fine or possibly a criminal prosecution. So it's good advice ;-)

In a similar vein I came across a couple of related Valentine's day poems being tweeted by accountants:

Roses are red 
Violets are blue 
Here's your tax return 
My fee note too 

That's from Kevin the Accountant of KAL Accountants who also seems to have inspired this one:

Rose is a flower 
Violet's a flower 
Hope they don't mind 
That you charge by the hour

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rod Liddle's innovative ideas about tax planning

I came across this wonderful expose on the Sage Exchange, Accountancy community blog. Rod Liddle is a guest writer there and, in an intro piece about his own approach to accountancy and tax, he explains his attitude to tax planning as follows:
"In the short-term I've tried to interest my accountants in reconfiguring Friar Luca Paciolis' famous formula for double-entry bookkeeping to incorporate two new values when calculating my tax bill: n, which represents a sum of money to be deducted from my taxable income based upon how nice I have been to people during the year, as estimated by myself, and x which represents a sum of money I have received from somewhere and do not wish the tax people to know about.
So the re-written formula would read: Assets = L+C-D-N+R(-X)-E. 
I firmly believe that this innovation is the single greatest contribution to accountancy since the renaissance (and, with respect to Fra Pacioli, perhaps before), and I suspect that all of your clients will agree when they see those nice subtraction signs in the formula.  
I should not really claim sole credit for this innovation as I have drawn on important pioneering work by certain accounting experts (I refer you to studies by K. Dodd, L. Piggott and especially ground-breaking work in the US from W. Snipes). 
I've already mentioned it to my accountant but he got that horrible weary look on his face and at one point suggested I take my business elsewhere."
You can read the full piece here >>>

Friday, February 07, 2014

A cheesy way to avoid tax....

The mountains of the Savoie region are home to Reblochon, the famous French washed rind cheese.

The name “Reblochon” comes from the French verb “reblocher”, which we have no English equivalent for, but roughly translates to: “The act of pinching a cow’s udders.”

In the Middle-Ages, farmers in the mountains of Haute Savoie used to pay their taxes with part of their milk production. In order to bring their production levels down, the farmers wouldn’t fully milk their cows. Once the tax officers came to measure the milk produced and left, the farmers went back to milk the cows again. In between milkings, the milk would culture, making it much richer and giving it more depth of flavor.

Today Reblochon is still made using partially cultured milk, but no longer as a means of tax evasion.

Credit for this piece of cheesy tax avoidance history goes to Great Ciao a Minnesota based provider of artisan produced cheese

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