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Showing posts from March, 2018

How many accountants are witch doctors doing magic?

In a 1964 speech British law lord, Lord Justice Harman, told an audience: ‘Accountants are the witch doctors of the modern world and willing to turn their hands to any kind of magic.’
I note that this quote has appeared on dozens of firms of accountants' websites.

(You need to know me to know why that quote so appeals to me. There's a clue in this much earlier posting on this blog)


What do taxi drivers know about tax?

Many years ago I travelled by train to Penrith in Cumbria, to present a talk to the local CIOT branch. In the cab I then took to reach the venue the driver asked me what I was doing in Penrith and I explained:
“I’m here to give a lecture to a group of tax advisers”. For a moment I was thrown as he seemed very miffed. It then became clear from his reply that he had misheard me: “It would be nice to have been invited. I’ve been a taxi driver here for over ten years!” I was unable to keep a straight face!
I shared the story during my talk and at the tea-break one of the delegates came over to explain she’d had a similar problem recently.
When arranging her car insurance by phone, she was astonished by the premium quote. It was more than 8 times what she had paid the previous year. She queried the figure and was told this was due to her profession, and the risks inherent in this. “What are the inherent risks of being a tax adviser?” she asked. At which point it became apparent the insurer…

Yes Prime Minister - How the Treasury work out how much tax to raise

In January 1986 the political comedy " Yes Prime Minister" featured an episode "The Smokescreen" in which The Prime Minister, Jim Hacker, favours abolishing smoking through heavy taxation but he runs into strong opposition from the tobacco lobby and the Treasury department.
The following exchange between the PM and his permanent secretary seemed especially worthy of inclusion on this blog:

Sir Humphrey: Taxation isn't about what you need.
Jim Hacker: Oh, what is it about?
Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, the Treasury doesn't work out what they need to spend and then think how to raise the money.
Jim Hacker: What does it do?
Sir Humphrey: They pitch for as much as they think they can get away with and then think what to spend it on.

Here's the whole episode if you're interested. At the start Sir Humphrey explains his view as to how all new Prime Ministers want to cut either taxes or public expenditure.....

Don't Cha Wish Your Accountant Was Cool Like This

Well done Accountant Annette Ferguson.  Great video revealing those thins Accountants NEVER say - and with good reason!