Friday, January 20, 2017

Money, money, money - quotes

"There's money. And then there's MY money"
- Anonymous client to accountant about funding a forthcoming tax bill

"Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons"
- Woody Allen

"I can't afford to die; I'd lose too much money"
- George Burns

"One of the mysteries of human conduct is why adult men and women are ready to sign documents they have not read, at the behest of salesmen they don't know, binding them to pay for articles they do not want, with money they do not have."
- Gerald Hurst,  

"Nothing is as irritating as the fellow who chats pleasantly to you while he's overcharging you."
- Kin Hubbard

"I haven't reported my missing credit card to the police because whoever stole it is spending less than my wife."
- Ilie Nastase

Friday, January 13, 2017

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, January 06, 2017

Cuts cause extra tax - poem

This was one of the winning entries in a limerick competition run by Taxation magazine*

The Chancellor spoke to the nation.
And we were all filled with elation.
but the tax cuts proposed.

Were swiftly exposed 
as a myth by the scribes in Taxation


* This entry was written by David Norton. The competition results were published in December 1999!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Hamish McTax's chilling tax rhyme

Sarah Saunders is clearly a fan of Macbeth. She is 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, December 09, 2016

The 12 tax days of Christmas

Just spotted a wonderful topical piece on AccountingWeb.co.uk. The article contains a series of inventive and fiscally accurate explanations offered by Emily Coltman of FreeAgent as she analyses the tax consequences of every one of the gifts mentioned in the classic song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”.

Emily imagines that the minstrel, whose "true love" gave all these gifts, needs help completing a tax return. What, imagines Emily, would be the income tax and VAT rules applicable to the gifts that make up the famous festive menagerie?

What follows is just a sample from some of the explanations. In each case Emily provides rather more detail than is appropriate for this fun blog ;-) 

A partridge in a pear tree This is what HMRC call a “mixed supply” for VAT, because it’s goods with different VAT rates supplied together. The pear tree is zero-rated for VAT, while the partridge, as an ornamental bird, would be standard-rated.  
Three French hens When goods of any kind are brought in from the EU and bought by a business that’s registered for UK VAT, the business has to work out and account for the VAT they would have paid if the item had been bought in the UK. 

Five gold rings If you’re buying an antique gold ring or other piece of second-hand jewellery, how would the seller work out VAT?

Six geese a-laying HMRC goes into a serious level of detail on this. The basic rule of thumb is that poultry kept for their meat or their eggs would be zero-rated for VAT, whereas ornamental birds would be standard-rated.

Eight maids a-milking Milkmaids need to live on the farm in order to be able to do their work properly; in order to do the morning milking they have to get up very early, and so it wouldn’t be practical or possible for them to commute. That means that the farmer can provide the milkmaids with living accommodation free of tax and National Insurance. 

Nine drummers drumming A drummer would have to buy his or her costume to perform in.  That might be a kilt, jacket and plaid for a drummer in a pipe band, or a suit for a jazz band drummer, and so on. He or she can then claim tax relief on the cost of that costume, because a costume for a performer is tax-deductible. 

Twelve lords a-leaping What would be the tax implications if these lords a-leapt out of the country? It depends why they’re a-leaping out and for how long.

Friday, November 04, 2016

The FD's assistant may not be quite right for the job

The company personnel department had carefully interviewed thirty-eight people for the job of assistant to the financial director.

The chief executive thought that one candidate - Charles - seemed ideal.

Charles had been to a major public school. Not only was he a qualified accountant, but Charles also had a masters degree in business administration. He seemed fully aware of the latest creative accountancy techniques.

'Charles,' said the chief executive, we've decided to offer you the job. And as you're so well qualified we've decided to start you off on a slightly higher salary than the one advertised. We'll pay you £36,000 a year.

'Thank you,' replied Charles. 'But how much is that per month?

Found on the KEEPERS ACCOUNTANCY website.

Friday, October 28, 2016

How strong is HMRC's case?

Years ago a senior official was talking about HMRC prosecution policy. He mentioned an occasion when he had lost a case and went back to his legal advisers to find out what had gone wrong.

"I thought you'd told me you thought we had a very strong case" he said. "So why did we lose?"

"Aha" said the lawyer, "You asked me what I thought and I told you that I felt that we had a very strong case. That was all you wanted to know.

Had you asked I'd have told you that I also thought the other side had a very strong case too."