Thursday, December 31, 2015

Claus vs HMRC

A while back Taxation magazine published a spoof judgment of a first tier tax tribunal case imagined by Robert Maas.

I have taken the liberty of extracting some of the key elements from the reported judgment:

In this case HMRC were represented by Mr Scrooge. 
The taxpayer did not appear and was not represented. Mr Scrooge explained to me that Mr Claus is reputedly very eccentric. He expects people to communicate with him by writing their message on a piece of paper, folding it and inserting it up a chimney. HMRC did this.

Mr Scrooge told me that HMRC’s letter certainly was not returned undelivered. I accordingly accept that Mr Claus was duly served with notice of this hearing and I decided to proceed with the case in his absence. HMRC told me that Mr Claus has some sort of facility overseas which either manufactures toys or stores toys procured from elsewhere (I am not clear which).

Mr Claus is known to visit the UK regularly and to distribute the aforementioned toys to children. For some reason that HMRC have been unable to explain to me, he apparently comes to the UK only once a year, always during the night of 24 December, and is seemingly unwilling to speak to HMRC or anyone else during normal business hours.

HMRC claim that Mr Claus is carrying on a business. He has imported a very large number of toys in the course of that business and has supplied them in the UK. The value of the toys far exceeded the VAT registration limit for each year, which means that Mr Claus should have registered for VAT and accounted for VAT to HMRC.

HMRC are seeking the VAT due for the 20 years to 25 December 2011 on the value of the toys supplied in this country, either as VAT due on import or VAT due on making taxable supplies here.

I asked Mr Scrooge why HMRC believe that Mr Claus is carrying on a business, as I was under the impression that he distributes his toys by way of gift. It is fundamental to VAT that the supplies must be made for a consideration.

Mr Scrooge explained that HMRC hold information to suggest that Mr Claus does not give toys to naughty children. Accordingly the toys are not distributed as gifts; they are supplied as consideration for a child having been good.

Mr Scrooge drew my attention to the tests summarised by Mr Justice Gibson in CCE v Lord Fisher [1981] STC 238 as to when activities constitute a business, namely: Whether the activity is a serious undertaking earnestly pursued: it clearly is so, as Mr Claus is reputed to employ a vast number of elves as “little helpers”.

A further point that concerns me in relation to the claim for VAT on importation is the EU concept of proportionality. Apparently Mr Claus delivers the toys in a sleigh powered by eight reindeer. However these are not ordinary reindeer. They appear to have magical powers, as they propel the sleigh in such a way that, however heavily it is loaded, it remains erect with the runners on a level with the hooves of the reindeer, so that it is not necessary for the vehicle to set down anywhere in the UK. It enters from the stratosphere and hovers above the country’s rooftops.

This may sound somewhat incredible, but HMRC have not questioned the practicality of this mode of delivery, so I assume it to be accepted as correct. The commissioners have promulgated a method for dealing with VAT on importation where goods come into the UK through a recognised border, but it is not apparent, at least to me, how a taxpayer is expected to account for VAT where his delivery vehicle comes from above and hovers over a rooftop while Mr Claus descends down the chimney below.

It may be that the Commissioners have made it exceptionally difficult, if not virtually impractical, for Mr Claus to account for import VAT. I am sceptical whether it can be proportionate to expect him to account for VAT in the absence of any machinery to enable him to do so. so. IHowever, the concept of proportionality is usually raised in the context of taxpayer’s rights; it is unclear to me whether it applies also to his obligations.

In passing, I would also say that I cannot see how HMRC will collect their tax. Mr Claus has no assets here and HMRC have been unable to determine precisely the location of Fairyland, or wherever else it is that Mr Claus comes from. The UK has clearly not entered into a treaty with Fairyland for the mutual enforcement of tax debts. I also cannot see how HMRC will be able to calculate the value of the taxable supplies.

Thankfully that is not my problem though. This document contains full findings of fact and reasons for the decision. Any party dissatisfied with this decision has a right to apply for permission to appeal against it pursuant to Rule 39 of the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Tax Chamber) Rules 2009. The application must be received by this tribunal not later than 56 days after this decision is sent to that party. The parties are referred to “Guidance to accompany a decision from the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber)” which accompanies and forms part of this decision notice.

Friday, December 25, 2015

What is Santa's tax status?

A few year's back Taxation magazine published this enquiry from a reader:
On a visit to the UK last year I picked up a copy of your magazine and wonder if readers can advise me. I am non-domiciled and non-resident (I think) in the UK – no permanent home here – but each year I work temporarily in the UK for a short period.

The work is unpaid, but I do receive benefits in kind; glasses of port, mince pies and the like. I am rather concerned that I have not declared these to HMRC in the past. Should I have done so and is there an annual tax liability to be paid on these gifts or benefits? And if there is, how is the tax calculated under self assessment?
The chosen pseudonym is "S. Claus".   I wonder........

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Christmas Carol for those with a PSC

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
Hated paying NIC
Went to a sharp adviser
Paid the man a hefty fee

He told the other reindeer
You should do the same as me
Go and see my adviser
Get yourself an PSC

Then one foggy Christmas eve, the taxman came to say:
"Your idea was not so bright
You owe tax, you're banged to rights"

So all the deer were bankrupt
Didn't have a bean they said
Now taxman's after Santa
He'll be really in the red.

Written by Chris Williams and first published in Taxation magazine 20 December 2007

Friday, December 04, 2015

If Santa was an accountant

If Santa was an accountant...
  • ...Christmas day would be referred to as "sign-off"
  • ...he should worry that Wikileaks would publish his list of presents
  • ...all of the kids clothes would be from "Baby GAAP"
  • ...his helpers would work in a small room cranking out toys during "present season" which gets longer every year.
  • ...letters to Santa would be carried forward from prior year
  • ...He'd take advantage of the North Pole's tax haven status
  • ...He'd probably moan about all the red tape he has to deal with
  • ...his family still wouldn't have a clue what he does at work
  • ...he would think about the mileage deduction for his reindeer drawn sleigh!
  • ...planning would be done after the gifts were delivered
This is just a small selection of the suggestions volunteered by users of twitter in response to an invitation to use the hashtag: #ifsantawasanaccountant

Friday, November 27, 2015

The final word on nutritional advice for accountants

After an exhaustive review of the research literature, h ere's the final word on nutrition and health as it affects accountants (and everyone else):

1. Japanese accountants eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

2. Mexican accountants eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

3. Chinese accountants drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

4. Italian accountants drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

5. German accountants drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

British accountants can eat and drink what they like. It's UK Accounting standards that are apparently what kills them.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tax inspectors aren't so bad

When tax inspectors die why are so many of them buried at the bottom of the ocean?

Because deep down they're quite nice people.

Monday, November 16, 2015

What NOT to say at your first job interview to become an accountant

The young accountancy graduate, fresh out of university and knowing everything, applied for his first job in a large form of accountants.

The partner interviewing him asked what starting salary he was looking for.

The young man replied: “Around £100,000 a year, plus usual benefits.”

The partner responded: “Well, how does this sound? Five weeks annual leave, 15% non contributory pension, reimbursed expenses - no questions asked, free attendance at an overseas conference every year with your partner, all mobile and home telephone bills reimbursed, gym membership, friday night entertainment and a company car replaced every 20,000 miles, say a Mercedes convertible.”

The graduate sat up straight and tried not to look excited. “Wow. Are you kidding?”

Which earned the response: “I'm afraid so, but you started it.”

Friday, November 06, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Which is the oldest profession? Tax or Accountancy?

They were arguing over who had the more noble profession and agreed it was whichever had been around the longest.

The accountant, convinced he'd won, quoted the bible. Even before God created Adam he created an orderly universe from chaos. An orderly universe implied the involvement of accountants to monitor and keep track of developments. By definition some of the angels must have been accountants. There were no taxes so no tax inspectors around that early in human history.

The tax inspector wasn't beaten. He listened patiently and then simply said: "Who do you think created the chaos?"

Friday, October 09, 2015

New style definitions of common accountancy terms

Profit – A chief executive who gives the accountant the bottom-line.
Debtor – A high society fillies’ coming out trip.
Corporation Tax – A levy on people with large stomachs.
Turnover – The number of times customers are fooled into buying your product.
Budget – A caged bird that can fly through the sound barrier.
Expended – Exhausted from all that shopping.
Drawings – The creative art of taking money from your business.
Stock-take – Counting the number of items taken home from work without payment.
Book-keeping – Those books not given to the accountant.
Fixed Cost – Size of required bribe.
Cost Accounting – Size of accountants' bill.
Liability – A gift for telling the opposite of the truth without detection.
And finally –
Asset – A complete collection of posteriors.

With many thanks to Rod Wilson of RWA Ltd Accountants (Rod tells me that RWA = Really Wicked Accountants)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Joke: Chartered Accountants vs Management accountants and Certified accountants

Three accountants were in the urinal performing their morning constitutional. The first finishes and walks over to the sink to wash his hands. He then proceeds to dry his hands carefully. He uses paper towel after paper towel and ensures that every single spot of water on his hands is dried. 

Turning to other two accountants, he says - "Management Accountants are trained to be extremely thorough."
The second finishes his task at the urinal and he proceeds to wash his hands. He     uses a single paper and makes sure that he dries every drop of water from his hands using every available portion of the paper towel. He turns and says - "Certified Accountants are not only trained be extremely thorough but also trained to be extremely efficient."
The third accountant finishes and walks straight for the door. "Chartered Accountants learn not to piss on their hands."

Friday, September 18, 2015

A winning suggestion....

A firm of accountants (that shall remain nameless) wanted to engage their staff in an efficiency drive so that everyone understood the need to be careful with the firm's money.

The partners introduced a suggestion scheme facility and promised a prize of £100 for the best suggestion each month - in terms of a simple to implement money saving measure.

The £100 prize was only awarded once.
It went to a manager who suggested reducing the monthly prize to £50.

Friday, September 04, 2015

7 top fun quotes about taxes

"Our tax code is so complicated, we've made it nearly impossible for even the Internal Revenue Service to understand."

"The United States is the only country where it takes more brains to figure your taxes than to earn the money to pay it."

"The way I look at this, we essentially have a tax system that's held together by chewing gum and chicken wire."

"A friend is one who takes you to lunch even if you're not tax deductible."

"If Patrick Henry thought that taxation without representation was bad, he should see how bad it is with representation."

"The tax code last year included 2.8 million words. The Holy Bible itself has only about 775,000 words. Obviously, God did not need to issue such copious instructions for living as we currently have for complying with tax laws."

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax."

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Utterly Uninteresting & Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant

Regular viewers of this blog will know that I generally avoid posting 'fun' items that reinforce the age old insulting misconception that all accountants are boring.

Occasionally though I come across items that just have to be featured here despite my best intentions. And this book, written by Drew Hayes and published in 2014,  is one such item.

Frederick Frankford Fletcher ("Fred") was "a mild mannered accountant" in life and in death. First with a heartbeat and then without. As one of the reviews suggests:
"He’s the same undead as he was alive – a boring accountant with low self-esteem. He also learned early on that he is not good at the whole stalking prey, eating straight from the vein thing. So, he gave that up and gets his blood from a hospital as a favor for cooking their books."
I'm no fan of the whole vampire genre but the reviews I have seen of this book were enough to encourage me to download the kindle version (it was free when I did so) from Amazon.

Further review quotes:
Some people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort.
Zombie J 
The only small problem I had with this otherwise likeable book is it did get somewhat repetitive. Fred constantly reminded us of how boring, timid, non-confrontational, and non-vampirish he is. But he was one of those characters that is really pretty charming, even if he doesn’t know it himself. He’s quite adorkable, actually.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The value of accountants at awards ceremonies - according to Dr Sheldon Cooper

This clip from the popular TV show, The Big Bang Theory, was shown at the start of the Emmy's in 2012. In the clip the genius Dr Sheldon Cooper explains why accountants are much more than simply adding machines.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bookkeeping and Accounting in 1945

This vocational guidance video shows what it was all about 70 years ago in 1945. It makes clear the distinction between bookkeepers and accountants, and mentions almost in passing their reliance on 'machines'.

The video also distinguishes the work of private accountants, who work in-house and public accountants who have many different clients. In the US they are still called CPAs (Certified Public Accountants). 

Accountants are also responsible for devising new bookkeeping systems and new methods of cost accounting. Accountants who specialise in this area were known as 'efficiency engineers' as an engineering background was very useful.

There's also career advice relevant to anyone considering bookkeeping or accounting (in 1945!)

Loved these quotes: 
"Because his job takes him form place to place, where he meets all kinds of people he must have a pleasing personality to be successful" NB: There is a clear presumption that all accountants were male in those days.
"Perhaps the most colourful accounting work is that of making special investigations". They worked for the FBI.

What's your favourite element of this old video?

Friday, August 07, 2015

What you might say when you're not trying to make partner.....

What follows are some of the more printable observations shared anonymously online by a US based accountant who describes himself as "a cynical Big 4 audit manager. I love my staff, I love my seniors, I hate this profession. I am not on the partner track."

He also admits to being drunk when he wrote the lengthy post which includes such intriguing observations as:

  • I've made it to Manager by pretty much keeping my head down and playing the game. I have a respect for accounting theory and knowledge. I just no longer give a shit about all the other stuff that accompanies it.
  • I'm convinced the biggest strategy for the Big 4 getting past PCAOB inspections is to over-document EVERYTHING. Memos for any and everything. F**king huge-ass memos filled with fluff language. They'll take one look at that 23-page Word file and nope the f**k out of it.
  • I do respect the knowledge base we have. There are some very intelligent people in our profession.
  • I hate office lingo: "Touch base", "shoot an e-mail", "let's table that discussion".
  • I wish there were more culturally and politically liberal people in our profession.
  • One of the most valuable 'soft' skills you can develop is public speaking.
  • Masturbation is a close second.

Friday, July 31, 2015

An accountant who knows nothing about their client

Rapper star 50 Cent, real name Curtis Jackson, called his accountant to Court in the US to testify
about his finances. But she knew little more about them than he did.

Jackson has already filed for bankruptcy after a jury awarded a $5million penalty against him after deciding he violated a woman's privacy by posting her private sex-tape video online.

A further penalty was in prospect and the amount would depend on Jackson's net worth. He called his accountant to give evidence to support claims his net assets came to less than $5m. Other estimates suggest a figure well over $100m.

The Californian accountant, who, it transpired has never actually met or spoken with her famous client, is employed by his business managers.  She didn't cope well on the stand and said that she doesn't know:
  • who bought the rights when 50 Cent recently sold some of his music catalog for $3 million. 
  • whether the $29 million that 50 Cent loaned to various businesses is recoverable. 
  • how much money he makes from executive-producing the TV show 'Power'. 
  • how many drivers he has on his payroll.
  • how any value could be attributed to new partnerships between his headphone company and Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Intel and Reebok because they could “go nowhere and make no money,” 
  • how much money he made from a recent underwear-endorsement deal. 
  • that he had recently listed his 21-bedroom Connecticut mansion online for $11 million.
  • how much money 50 Cent makes from music royalties on the $38 millions worth of records he has sold.
You'd have thought she might have anticipated such questions and checked out the information beforehand. If only to retain some professional credibility. As it is she was a laughing stock.

Friday, July 24, 2015

How to get past HMRC 's automated phone system

The following appeared on the letters page of The Daily Telegraph on 10th July:
Taxing menu
SIR – I telephoned HMRC about a tax query. I was asked the usual questions by a robot voice and was eventually told to hold and someone would be with me shortly. After 47 minutes waiting, listening to the most awful music, I hung up and tried again.
This time my replies to the robot voice were “lamb vindaloo” and “sweet and sour pork”. To the question: “Are you making an inquiry about your own tax?” I responded: “Walls Cornetto.”
I was put through and spoke to a human adviser within two minutes.
M J AnnettHorley, Surrey
Many thanks to Rebecca Cave, for bringing it to my attention.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What's one plus one?

In a test to establish who was the most worthy to act as his accountant, an entrepreneur asked four candidates for their answer to an easy question: "What's one plus one?"

The first accountant rushed to give the answer "2" and was eliminated.

The second accountant tried to be clever by offering a mathematical approach and was also dismissed. The entrepreneur wasn't interested in hearing about number bases and that "In binary 1+1 = 10 which looks like a ten".

The next accountant tried a different approach and replied by asking the entrepreneur a question. "Are you buying or selling?" He then explained that if he was buying, the answer was 2. If he was selling it was one, one - ie: eleven.

The entrepreneur was impressed but decided to give the last applicant a chance. He was sure would win over the entrepreneur. He went over to the windows and drew the curtains. He then went over to the door, locked and tested it, and went right up to the entrepreneur. Looking him squarely in the eye he said: "What would you like it to be?"

He was hired.

Friday, July 03, 2015

How do you know if you're part of a medium sized firm?

A small firm is one where everyone knows everyone.

A large firm is one where no one knows everyone.

A medium sized firm is one where there is always someone who knows everyone.

Thanks to David Lewis of Camrose Consulting for that one.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Five banker related acronyms for the 21st century

DEBITs - Desperate Executives Broken by Insider Trading

NERO - Naughty Executives' Regulatory Organisation

NABRO - Not Another Bloody Regulatory Organisation

MUMPIES - Middle-aged Upwardly Mobile Professionals

OPULANT - OverPaid UnderutiLised And Not Trying

BERNIEs - Banker Earning Ridiculous Notes In Eternity

Friday, June 12, 2015

Top ten tax teases and musings

  1. Why is simplification such a long word?
  2. A tax conscience is that small inner voice that tells you that the Special Civil Investigation Office will be writing to you.
  3. If taxes are the answer, what was the question?
  4. Why is it that HMRC can make 'mistakes' but taxpayers are always negligent?
  5. Haggis and tax laws are both the the result of bloody processes; the end result is a mystery and you wouldn't want to watch either being made.
  6. Is it true that HMRC's computer believes that the generation of names for random audit is too important to be left to chance?
  7. If you fill in your tax return before breakfast then nothing worse can happen to you all day.
  8. Due to taxation, politicians find it increasingly difficult to reconcile their net incomes with their gross habits.
  9. Is the Eiffel Tower a warning as to what will happen to Canary Wharf after taxes?
  10. Has the self assessment system resulted in the United Kingdom becoming a land of untold wealth? 
Please share more of the same.....

Friday, June 05, 2015

The tax poem

Tax his land,
Tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.

Tax his ties,
Tax his shirts,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.

Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.

Tax his booze,
Tax his beers,
If he cries,
Tax his tears.

Tax his bills,
Tax his gas,
Tax his notes,
Tax his cash.

Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers,
Tax him more,
Tax him until he's good and sore.

Tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.
Put these words upon his tomb,
'Taxes drove me to my doom!'

And when he's gone,
We won't relax,
We'll still be after the inheritance TAX!!

Author unknown

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sharing out the post in the taxman's office

This take dates back to the days of the Inland Revenue when there were local offices headed by a District Inspector (DI). One such DI went for a drink with his assistant to mark the DI's imminent retirement.

The Assistant DI took the opportunity to ask his boss something that had been troubling him:
"I must ask you a question. It's always puzzled me how you were able to so often leave the office to play golf at 3 o'clock each day. In the mornings you always divided the incoming post into three piles. You and I took equal sized piles of post and left the third one for the next day. Even though you seemed to distribute the post randomly as between us, your desk was always clear at 3 o'clock whereas I often had to stay until 5 or 6 o'clock to clear all my post. How did you manage it?"

The District Inspector replied:
"Simple. When it got to 3 o'clock each day I put any answered post back on the pile that we'd left for the next day!"

Thanks to Richard Mannion who related this tale to me a while back. Not sure if he said it was a true story or a joke!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Opening post for a client....

One accountant I know had a client who never opened any official looking envelopes. The accountant had to do this when he visited each month. And he then told the client what action needed to be taken in each case.

In an effort to get the client to open letters from the accountant himself he started sending them in distinctive grey coloured envelopes. However the client rarely opening these either. On one occasion the accountant wrote: "I'm writing this letter knowing that I'll be the one to open it when I come to visit you next month."

On another occaison the accountant sent his bill in a pretty coloured envelope. The accompanying letter started: "I hope you like the envelope. I used it in the hope that you'll have opened it without realising it was from me!"

Monday, May 18, 2015

10 ways you know you're an accountant

You know you're an accountant when.....
.....Friends always ask YOU to divide the restaurant bill and the tip.
.....When you tip the waitress you wonder who the troncmaster is.
.....You are always expected to be the one controlling the fund for office sweepstakes, lottery and fantasy football syndicates.
.....Strangers sidle up to you at parties and ask "How do I pay less tax?"
.....You can repeat all the HMRC 'on hold' messages word perfectly.
.....You have THAT poster on your wall: "I used to be an accountant, until I discovered Smirnoff." .....When you pop into an independent retail outlet you wonder how much profit they make.
.....You refuse to buy certain products retail because you know how big the sales margin is.
.....You have quoted certain tax cases (eg: Mallalieu v Drummond) so often you know how to spell the obscure names involved.
.....You count an unnumbered list like this one to see whether it really contains 10 items. (It does now!)

This list was inspired by a similar piece on

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Irregular verbs - tax

At it's simplest perhaps we have:

I only pursue approved tax incentives
You look for tax avoidance opportunities
He breaks the law and evades tax

A variation on this is:
I pay all the tax due
You look for easy ways to avoid paying all the tax due
He engages in aggressive tax planning

A new version has just appeared online. It parodies how Margaret Hodge might explain herself following recent revelations about her benefitting from the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF) she has ridiculed whilst Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

I manage my financial affairs sensibly 
 You engage in aggressive avoidance 
 He/She is a slimy tax cheat

This was first posted by Tom McClelland on

There have been other examples of irregular tax verbs in the past. I spotted this one that relates to the different ways the Coalition government has supported investment in shale gas and the renewables sector.

I receive public spending
You get tax incentives
He gets a subsidy

What further variations can you come up with?

Monday, April 20, 2015

The liar, the Revenue and the wardrobe

A little late to the party on this one, but worth recording for posterity. And yes, the title is a variation on the same theme adopted in most other reports of this story.

A bookkeeper, keen to avoid arrest in connection with a £140,000 VAT fraud, hid in her bedroom wardrobe.  Unsurprisingly, after looking under her bed, the wardrobe was the next place that police officers looked.

The accused, Donna Magee (44), was arrested by HMRC in February 2012. Concerns had been raised by reference to fraudulent VAT repayments for the construction of non-existent new business premises.  She has since been tried, found guilty and sentenced.

Mike Parkinson, of HMRC, explained that the investigation shows that tax fraudsters have "no place to hide".  That is certainly true for those who attempt to hide in their own bedrooms!

Friday, February 20, 2015

A '50 shades of tax' pun

"I use gaffer tape to stick down the envelope for my tax return... 

 Cos its Tax duct tapeable. DUCT TAPEABLE"

With all due credit to Arnie Haybridge who posted this on twitter

Friday, February 13, 2015

The importance of getting your tax return right

HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs) has returned a Tax Return to a man in STANSTED after he apparently answered one of the questions incorrectly.
In response to the question: "Do you have anyone dependant on you?" he wrote:
2.1 million illegal immigrants, 1.1 million crackheads, 4.4 million unemployable Jeremy Kyle scroungers, 900,000 criminals in over 85 prisons plus 650 idiots in Parliament and the whole of the European Commission.
HMRC stated that the response he gave was unacceptable.
The man's response back to HMRC was simple:
SORRY - Who did I miss out?
Many thanks to Brian Cruickshank for highlighting this for me. 

Monday, February 09, 2015

Hugh's new client

The following story comes from long-time subscriber to my newsletters and blog posts, Hugh Dunlop.

Hugh is a practicing accountant who is close to retirement in Scotland. He tells of a self employed person who came to him a couple of years ago to file the SA100 tax return.
As it was the first year of the business and he had previously been employed under PAYE I was able to get him a tidy tax rebate. 
In 2014 I told him that he had made a profit just under the personal allowance and as a result he would have no tax to pay. The reply was 'Does that mean I won't get a tax rebate again?' I said that as he had not paid any tax he could not get one. 'OH. Does that mean I won't have to pay you?'
Some clients just don't get it do they?

Friday, January 23, 2015

A good deal?

I got a good deal the other day by paying just £12 for two copies of Accountancy for Dummies. They're normally £4.99 each.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Being a good accountant takes 5% talent and...

Being a good accountant takes 5% talent...

           ... 13% maths and 81% spotting what's been missed

            ... 10% attitude and 90% knowing what's right and what's wrong

            ... and 95% avoiding distraction on the internet

Friday, January 09, 2015

The accountant (actor) at number 39 on the Top 50 financial power list

This year's tongue in cheek entry on Accountancy Age's annual Top 50 Financial power list 2015:
39 (New Entry) Ben Affleck, actor Can Ben Affleck succeed where Jason Donovan failed? The public perception of an a-typical accountant looks set to get a serious make-over with the latex-clad Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice thespian reputedly signing up for the lead in a film guessed it...The Accountant.  
The broad concept of the movie is about a man who juggles the twin perils of GAAP by day, and the less taxing demands of being a high-class assassin by night. So can Affleck and screenwriter Bill Dubuque paint the profession in a sophisticated light akin to that of the legal profession? Previous attempts, including an accounting drama starring the aforementioned Donovan, were met with limited success.
Jason's drama featured on this fun blog four years ago. I'm also reminded of KPMG's efforts, back in 1997, to have the lead characters in dramatic films be accountants rather than lawyers.

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...