Friday, November 24, 2017

Why do HMRC pursue odd tax cases?

Years ago I recall discussing HMRC prosecution policy with a senior official. 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."

Friday, November 17, 2017

Tax quotes can be fun

Haven't posted any quotes about taxation for a while so here are some more:

" I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is—I could be just as proud for half the money."
- Arthur Godfrey

"Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what's called a red flag. That's something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That's a red flag."
- Jay Leno

"Day in and day out, your tax accountant can make or lose you more money than any single person in your life, with the possible exception of your kids."
- Harvey Mackay

"There's nothing wrong with the younger generation that becoming taxpayers won't cure."
- Dan Bennett

"If you get up early, work late, and pay your taxes, you will get ahead -- if you strike oil."
- J. Paul Getty

Previous posts containing tax quotes can be found through this link

Friday, November 10, 2017

Flags and taxes

A British guy was chatting with his American friend and offered a fun explanation about the red, white and blue in our National flag. "Our flag symbolises our taxes," he said. "We get red when we talk about them, white when we get our tax bill, and blue after we pay them."

"That's the same with us," the American said, "only we see stars, too."

Friday, November 03, 2017

When downsizing doesn't go quite as planned

The partners in a 20 strong accounting firm decided to downsize.
Half of the staff were duly handed their redundancy notices. The letters left them in no doubt the firm would be better off without them.

Selecting the half to make redundant had been a no-brainer for the partners: the firm was staffed by a mixture of very competent young people at various stages of training, and a motley crew of duffers who were mostly a waste of space. Some even had quirks that made them automatic choices: there was one guy who always arrived at the crack of dawn each morning - only to spend an hour on expensive sex chat-lines! And a twenty-something female who looked as though butter wouldn't melt, but was transformed into a door-slamming Banshee whenever told to go work on-site.

One of the staff who had been selected to stay, was recently qualified, and had just been head-hunted by his former mentor, a Big 4 Partner branching out with his own practice. Promoted to manager and charged with staffing the new practice, he offered jobs to all of the remaining competent 50% of the firm's staff - professional and admin. All accepted.

Thus it came that, having only just received their redundancy notices, Mr Sex-chat, Miss Banshee, and all the other duffers received gushing letters informing them the firm had had second thoughts. The partners didn't, after all, want to lose staff of their calibre, and would they care to stay? 

Apocryphal or true?