Friday, September 23, 2016

David Mitchell's funny explanation of tax avoidance

There are some great quotes in this clip which sees David Mitchell answering questions about tax avoidance during an interview on The Last Leg TV show in 2105.

"Vanilla flavoured. Less than vanilla, unflavoured tax avoidance"

At the other end of the spectrum, "Gary Bartlow's evil flavoured" tax avoidance

Tax avoidance involves "50 shades of grey. And that's not an ice cream flavour anyone wants!"

"Legal loopholes allowing tax avoidance mean the government is “taxing conscience” – the more of a conscience you have, the more you pay – and that isn’t right"

"We're taxing being nice"

Bad language alert in this clip:

Friday, September 16, 2016

Why does this accountant specialise in strippers?

One of the oddest specialisations I've heard an accountant boast about was strippers.

Whereas other accountants might focus on solicitors(!), hospital consultants, charities or any other business sector, his reasons seemed quite logical:

  • They are generally honest 
  • They are high earners with good cashflow 
  • They are quite up front (literally, apparently) 
  • They often have big assets (Can't believe I'm typing this!) 
  • They pay in cash in advance (as they have so much of it) 

Are readers aware of any other less common and vaguely amusing target sectors for accountants looking to specialise?

Friday, September 09, 2016

"Why not have a stupidity tax?"

Taken from Absolutely Fabulous. This is Edwina ranting:
Why not have a stupidity tax and just tax the stupid people?"

Friday, September 02, 2016

"No wonder taxes are high" (sung by Bob Monkhouse)

This is the title of a song performed in a 1958 musical comedy version of Aladdin written especially for US television with a book by S.J. Perelman and music and lyrics by Cole Porter.

There was also a London stage production in 1959 in which a 30 year old Bob Monkhouse played the part of Aladdin. This clip  has him singing the song with co-star Ronald Shiner.

An extract from lyrics follows below:

The Emperor is fond of marble dragons,
So he ordered tons and tons of marble dragons,
His extravagance nobody can deny,
No wonder taxes are high.

In ev'ry room he wants a golden Buddha
And it takes a lot of gold to make a Buddha,
Though to estimate the cost we wouldn't try,

No wonder taxes are high.

Yet we work, work, work
Till our bones are all cracked,
We don't even have a Workman's Compensation act.

His Majesty delights in throwing parties,
So we have to furnish food for all his parties.
When your monarch is a social butterfly,

No wonder taxes are high.

Oh me, oh my!
No wonder taxes are high.

His Grace can only sleep on yellow satin,
Ev'ry night he has a change of yellow satin,
Though we want him to enjoy his hushabye,
No wonder taxes are high.

He likes to juggle emeralds and rubies,
So he cornered all the emeralds and rubies,
His collection is a knockout to the eye,

No wonder taxes are high.

Yet we work, work, work
For a minimum fee,

We don't even get a break to take midmorning tea.

Our master loves to ogle pretty dancers,
He already has a thousand pretty dancers,
But today he commandeered a new supply,

No wonder taxes are high.
Oh me, oh my!
No wonder taxes are high.

He likes to look at fireworks in the ev'ning,
So we're forced to shoot off fireworks ev'ry ev'ning,
And so many that they clutter up the sky,

No wonder taxes are high.

He drinks a foreign drink that's known as brandy,
So a caravan arrived and brought him brandy.
It's too bad his royal throat is always dry,

No wonder taxes are high.

Yet we work, work, work
Till we're covered with grime,

But he wouldn't think of paying us for overtime.

His Highness fairly reeks of heavy perfume
And his concubines adore his heavy perfume.
It's a shame the way they splash it on the guy,
No wonder taxes are high.

Oh me, oh my!
No wonder taxes are high.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dominic Frisby, 'Let’s Talk about Tax'

I am indebted to Philip Fisher for sharing a review of this 2016 Edinburgh show in Taxation magazine.  Philip's observations include the following about Dominic's show:
  • While tax specialists will know much of what is on offer, they should learn some new facts, whether about the history of tax, the size of our code, now over 10 million words - being 12½ times as many as the bible – or ephemera such as the average telephone wait for HMRC, 47 minutes.
  • He also makes many intelligent observations, for example that if tax gets too high, people merely avoid it using those time-honoured ‘Fs’: fight, flight and fraud. He observes also that HMRC is technically not answerable to parliament but to the Queen (who is technically exempt from funding herself but pays tax on a voluntary basis)
Other reviewers include additional points of note:
  • When he steps onto the stage you can instantly see Frisby’s dressed for money. Suited, booted and topped by a bowler hat, the comedian looks like the quintessential City man. It doesn’t take long to realise the comedian has a compelling interest in cash, and in particular how the government goes about taking ours.
  • His knowledge of tax history is encyclopaedic – the UK window tax of the 17th century and its adverse effect on the population’s health and the Roman’s desire to tax urine (which was apparently a valuable agent in clothes laundering and the prevention of tooth decay) just two amusing examples.
Warning: The video interview with Dominic below talking about the show includes sexual references!

Friday, August 12, 2016

10 alternatives to being the Taxman's 'Customer'

For some years now HMRC (the taxman) has used the word 'customers' to refer to all types of taxpayers and tax credit claimants.  Of course 'customers' normally get a choice as to where they shop so it's not the right word.  

Here are ten alternative, not too serious, descriptions. Do you have any other suggestions?

  1. Slaves
  2. Victims
  3. Codees - Anyone who deals with the tax authorities has to have a code, so that's the common element.
  4. Punters
  5. Suckers 
  6. Cash cows
  7. Mugs
  8. Muggles 
  9. Government financiers
  10. Lemons (as in "squeeze them until the pips squeak")

Friday, August 05, 2016

6 reasons accountants make great friends

  1. They're an asset that never depreciates
  2. They can work out how to split the bill after a meal (and could do so before apps were developed to resolve this important life skill)
  3. Without them, it's an accrual world
  4. You can always count on them
  5. They help you figure life out
  6. They make everything balance and give credit where it's due
With due credit to the AAT community whose online contributions were collated into this video that contains the 6 reasons above - plus a 'scary' 7th point!