Friday, June 02, 2023

Other income - how to explain this one?

Back in the day when we completed tax returns by hand, an inspector of taxes noted an unusual entry for 'other income' on a tax return she was examining. 

In the space to explain a zero figure the taxpayer had written "F. All." 

The Inspector wrote to the taxpayer suggesting that this was not appropriate language to use on what was a legal document. 

The taxpayer responded by explaining that the Inspector had misunderstood. "I could not fit the words "Family Allowance' in the limited space available." 

The Inspector wrote back pointing out that there was no requirement to enter details of Family Allowance on tax returns. 

The taxpayer then responded, that as regards his other income, this really was F*** All!"

Friday, May 26, 2023

Best ever reason given to HMRC for late paid tax

Long before HMRC introduced a 'time to pay' system through the Business Payment Support Service, Inspectors kept track of the more extreme excuses given for late payment.

My heart went out to the taxpayer with the best reason I ever heard. He asked for time to pay because:
"Just recently the drains were blocked and the bungalow was flooded, We had 6,000 gallons of effluent all over the inside and out.
Please consider all the things we've been through."

Friday, May 19, 2023

The tax awards that were NOT presented

 Awards not presented at this year's Taxation awards celebration included:

Large firm
  • Longest name for a tax team in a large firm
  • Most widely dispersed tax 'team' in a large firm
Medium sized firm
  • Highest percentage lock-up in a medium sized firm
  • Most imaginative disclosure on a tax return by a medium sized firm
  • Longest meeting with HMRC in a medium sized firm
  • Most fee notes for tax advice given to one client in one year, in a medium sized firm
Small firm
  • Worst client toilet in a small firm
  • Best reasonable excuse for a late filed tax return by a small firm
Individual awards
  • Most obscure tax qualifications
  • Most pedantic tax author
  • Least qualified Treasury minister
  • Tax smartarse of the year
Any others?

Friday, May 12, 2023

Hamish McTax's chilling tax rhyme

Sarah Saunders is clearly a fan of Macbeth. She was credited by Taxation magazine with finding (or imagining) a new parchment used by Shakespeare as a source for his play, Macbeth. 

It's a witty piece that could be said to examine the play through the lens of modern day taxation. 

The document itself appears to have been written by Hamish McTax, Royal Counsellor, Tax Adviser to Royalty. 

Apparently "scribbled on the back of the document was this chilling rhyme:
"Double, double, VAT is trouble, ATED burn and FATCA bubble. 
Number of a DOTAS scheme, Echo of a non-dom's scream. partner's notice, APN, Payment with a stroke of pen. 
Film investment, foreign trust, years of planning, turned to dust. For a charm of taxing trouble, Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble". 
 Nice one, Sarah

Friday, May 05, 2023

10 songs from the 1980s to inspire accountants

  1. "Take the Money and Run" by Steve Miller Band - Perfect for those clients who may be tempted to take their profits and run, but you're determined to keep them on track with sound financial advice.
  2. "Material Girl" by Madonna - A fun twist on being a "Depreciation Diva" who knows the value of tangible assets and depreciation schedules. 
  3. "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey - Encouraging clients to keep the faith in their financial goals and trust in your accounting expertise. 
  4. "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson - Because you won't stop until you've reconciled every last penny and balanced every account. 
  5. "Every Breath You Take" by The Police - A playful take on diligently reviewing every line item on a financial statement, "stalking" those numbers to ensure accuracy. 
  6. "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi - Capturing the intensity and pressure of tax season, where accountants rely on a little prayer to make it through! 
  7. "Money's Too Tight (to Mention)" by Simply Red - A humorous take on the constant struggle to manage finances and make every dollar count, even when it's too tight to mention.
  8. "It's a Beautiful Day" by Michael BublĂ© - When you're feeling optimistic and confident about tackling tax season with a positive outlook. 
  9. "Manic Monday" by The Bangles - Capturing the chaos and frenzy of the first day of the week after a long tax weekend, when accountants are bracing for a busy week. 
  10. "The Winner Takes It All" by ABBA - Because after all the hard work and number crunching, you deserve to be the winner of tax season and celebrate your accounting skills!

Friday, April 28, 2023

New names for accountants



Closeted counter
Counting consultant
Counting countess

Double entry deviant
Dealer in debits and credits

Journal junkie
Legder lover
Number cruncher
Penny processor
Provisions peddler

Any more?

Friday, April 21, 2023

Percentages can be confusing

When I started training as an accountant, one of the first clients I visited was a bookseller.

I remember being unable to understand how the clerk had computed his percentages when sales were falling. These included such impossible results as minus 134% and minus 179%.

I explained how to compute the percentage movement in sales from one period to another. 

The look of joy on the clerk's face was a delight as he came to appreciate a key fact: 
  • Whilst upward trends had no limit (eg: increases of four time the previous week's sales would show as plus 400%), downward trends could never be worse than minus 100% (if no sales were made). He was thrilled.
I went back a few weeks later to check all was well. Unfortunately a stack of books (previously counted as 'sold') had been returned, thus creating 'minus sales' ...............!

Other income - how to explain this one?

Back in the day when we completed tax returns by hand, an inspector of taxes noted an unusual entry for 'other income' on a tax retu...