Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Ta-ra World Cup. Helloooo new football season!

The World Cup’s over for another 4 years and it didn’t come home. This time.

But the upside is that the new football season’s already warming up – and what better way of getting you in the mood than to kick this month’s blog off with an old match report of the encounter between HMRC and a well-known football club. 


So, it’s over to our roving reporter in the north, Mike Hardigan-Fitzbaddely… 


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How a complex Employee Benefit Trust resulted in a catastrophic own goal…

Final score (AET): Tax Avoidance Scheme  0 – 1  HMRC

Well, this one’s been a cracker, full of twists and turns.

Although the season’s just now starting for some, this marathon of a contest has only just finished for others. And yes, while one side can claim to literally be over the moon, the other is, without doubt, feeling as sick as a parrot. With psittacosis.

I’m talking about the former incarnation of Rangers Football Club (who subsequently went into liquidation) and the case brought against them by HMRC for tax avoidance.

From the off, Rangers were keen to keep things tight around the fringes and keep something extra in their locker – about £47m – rallying at every opportunity to keep HMRC at bay. Their strategy worked well and, for much of the tussle, they remained untouchable. Their opponents had seen this formation and tactics before though, and continued to probe relentlessly until the cracks in Rangers’ rearguard action started to show.

On a different day, and if Rangers’ gameplan had been on target, it might have worked. But, as the battle of wills wore on, all their attempts to think outside the box caused them to fall into their own offside trap. 

And, despite a valiant, backs-to-the-wall defensive display, they ultimately found themselves not in acres of space, but a quagmire of red-card trouble. Caught in their own net, they paid the ultimate penalty.

What might have first appeared as a game of two halves and ‘a bit of handbags’ has now been decisively concluded. To lose the dressing room is one thing; to lose the entire football club is something that will cause them nightmares for years to come.

This is Mike Hardigan-Fitzbaddely, North of Watford. In the rain.

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For those of us not versed in empty footballing parlance or high-level tax affairs, following an appeal, The Supreme Court finally ruled in favour of HMRC who claimed that The Rangers Football Club PLC’s complex Employee Benefit Trusts and sub-trusts structure amounted to avoidance of liability to pay Income Tax and Class 1 National Insurance contributions. This involved the payments of over £47m to players, managers and directors of the football club between 2001 and 2010. 

We’ve all heard of schoolboy defending, although, in this case, it seems nowhere near as damaging as what might be described as schoolboy accounting. Sometimes, claiming to give 110% clearly doesn’t work. 

And remember, it’s only a cliché if it doesn’t have that certain je ne sais quoi.

Until next time...

Saturday, 7 July 2018

'The Tea and Biscuits' Sales Rep

Our extremely unreliable grapevine has been at it again, this time with more news on the series celebrating the NHS’ 70th birthday. The next episode continues its observation of healthcare sales reps in their natural habitats. 

Sir David Attenborough, over to you… 


Another member of the Hospital Sales Rep family is ‘Salesus Slothius’, better known as the ‘Tea and Biscuits’ Sales Rep. 

Compared to ‘The Peacock’, this salesperson is far less conspicuous and prefers a more leisurely, long-term approach to how they go about things. To them, the word ‘mañana’ has too urgent a connotation. 


Favouring a much more casual style, Salesus Slothius is recognisable by its friendly, chatty and innocuous demeanour. It will often announce its approach by poking its head around a door and simply enquiring whether everything’s okay. 


And that’s it. Nothing more. 


Should this lead to an invitation to sit down, it then provides the perfect environment for it to relax into full ‘Tea and Biscuits’ mode. There is no other situation in which this rep is more at home and at ease; it’s a setting that allows them to demonstrate their full repertoire of sociable, empty communication over a hot drink and chocolate Hobnobs. To discuss any form of business is considered uncouth. That can wait for another time. Instead, it’s far better to talk about anything and everything else. 


As well as biscuits, their staple diet consists of sandwiches, cakes and donuts which they will often share with others. If anything, it adds to the conviviality. However, because they arrive laden with such a feast of goodies, one shouldn’t expect anything as practical or useful as pens, pads or even product information. Unless they’re in edible form. 


Collectively referred to as a drizzle of salespersons, very little ruffles the feathers of The Tea and Biscuits rep. Urgency just causes them stress. Hence slow and steady, steady and slow, and slow and slow wins the day. Indeed, why do something today that can also be done tomorrow, or next week, or next month? Or never. 


They are usually spotted in daylight hours and, being less fleet-footed than other reps, have evolved a keen sense of danger; as such, they are extremely careful not to stay too long in one place before returning to the refuge of their car. Sometimes, they will stay there for hours on end until the perceived threat has passed. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the hospital environment is not their natural habitat. That’s not true though – they are just waiting for the all-clear when they can again move around unobserved and in safety. 


Climate, too, can play havoc with their desire to venture into The Great Outdoors, and there have been instances when the early onset of a harsh winter has forced some into premature hibernation. In fact, some Tea and Biscuits reps are sometimes not seen for months on end. And that may be regardless of what the weather is doing. 


Come springtime though, and after a long, bleak season, they will eventually resurface refreshed and relaxed… 


Ready for another exhausting sit down and nice cup of tea. 


Indeed, it’s the circle of life.


Until next time...



Thursday, 7 June 2018

‘The Peacock’ Sales Rep

Breaking news…

Continuing a lifetime's study of different species in their natural habitats, we’ve just heard (on an extremely unreliable grapevine) that Sir David Attenborough has been commissioned to do a programme on hospital sales reps to help celebrate the NHS' 70th birthday.

Should be interesting. Already, we can imagine his rich, hushed tones…

The Hospital Sales Rep, or to take its biological name ‘Salesus Reptilius Hospitalis’, is a fascinating species. 

Often seen congregating in hospital coffee shops and car parks, some are easier to spot than others, but none more so than one type in particular: ‘The Peacock’... 


Through decades of evolutionary self-styling, The Peacock is characterised by its appearance: the parading sales rep of the healthcare world. Witness them huddled together in a group, and it is impossible to miss this plume of salespersons. 


Well-groomed, ultra-coiffed, and adorned with designer stubble or the latest trend in facial hair 
– of course, that is just the males – don’t be fooled that physical appearance is all that matters to them... 

Accessories are just as important. What could be more resplendent than a sharp-looking three-piece suit, a bold tie, brown shoes and statement socks? And all of this perfectly complemented by an understatedly large wristwatch that is rarely ever used to tell the time. 


It’s perfect attire for a hospital setting, even if it is a look that wouldn’t be out of place at a wedding, on a Stock Exchange trading floor or international catwalk. To The Peacock, showcasing the latest trends never goes out of fashion. 


Fledgling Peacock reps, known as ‘Preeners’, aspire to this full image status in the hope of being accepted into the wider family. However, it can lead to an extremely harsh lesson if not managed properly. Many a Preener has been ostracised by his plume for not realising that there’s only one ‘l’ in ‘Rolex’ and that ‘Arrrmani’ is no more than a cheap, West Country imitation. 


In today’s modern world, Peacocks also need to be incredibly fit and dextrous – it’s an absolute must if they are to manage the latest piece of IT equipment in one hand, and a quadruple-shot free trade Ghanaian latte in the other. And, so as not to compromise either of these functions, their bags are often kept in the boot of the car for safety. It’s all part of keeping up appearances. 


Nonetheless, image-conscious though they may be, Peacocks also have an innate ability to blend in effortlessly with their surroundings. In an instant, and thanks to a rather ingenious talent, they can render themselves invisible. One minute you see them as clear as day, and the next, you’d be hard pushed to spot them in an empty room. Probably because they’re not there. 


Whilst often misunderstood, there is no doubt that they remain one of the most enigmatic creatures within the sales genus. 


But, in the right setting, and at the right time, it is possible to catch a fleeting glimpse of this extraordinary species in all its glory. 


Usually around midday. And rarely on Fridays.


Until next time...

Monday, 7 May 2018

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Tarrant’s gone. Clarkson’s back. And so is this TV favourite to mark its 20th anniversary.

What better time then to repost our accountant’s edition WWTBAM from Chapman Worth’s blog in September 2017…

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Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

We can definitely help. But first, it’s time for the Chapman Worth quiz…

Here’s our industry-topical homage to one of the most popular quizzes of all time. (Unfortunately, there’s no money up for grabs although winners will have the opportunity to unsubscribe from to our mailing list.)

Ready?

Q1: What expenses can landlords now claim?
A. Whatever they like.
B. Whatever they can get away with.
C. Those that are wholly and exclusively for the purposes of renting out the property.
D. None. It’s not worth being a landlord.

Q2: What is Form 17?
A. A millennial hip-hop group from Grove.
B. The document that follows Form 16.
C. A shampoo for poodles.
D. A HMRC declaration for cohabiting couples to acknowledge unequal property ownership and be taxed proportionally.

Q3: What’s the definition of ‘people with significant control’?
A. Someone with authority or skill – e.g. a teacher, traffic warden, or juggler.
B. Someone who can drink 11 cups of tea without the need to powder their nose.
C. An individual who exerts significant control over a UK company or LLP through shares or voting rights.
D. Your other half.

Q4: What is disincorporation relief?
A. A televised, annual fundraising event.
B. Relief that allows the transfer of a business from a private limited company to a sole trader or partnership; and due to end on 31 March 2018.
C. The feeling you get when you leave behind corporate life.
D. An over-the-counter medication.

Q5: What does OTS stand for?
A. Office of Tax Simplification.
B. Office of Tax Simpletons.
C. Oh. Tax. S**t.
D. Overly Tense Subtraction.

If you’re dying to know the correct answers or want to read more on the topics covered here, you’ll find everything you need in this month’s email newsletter.

And if you’ve still no idea what quiz show we’ve been talking about, it might be time to ask the audience.

Either that, or shout in exasperation: “I’ll have a ‘P’ please, Bob!” Anything to let you escape the room.

Until next time...

Firstly... and kind of finally!

Good day. And here is the news...

At long last we're delighted to announce that the BonMots website has gone live.

Firstly, we'd like to thank our many clients  for keeping us busy enough to not be able to finish our own website sooner, and commission work based purely on word of mouth and a holding page with another gnu on it. Your faith meant everything!


A huge thanks too to Mark Baker from Seven Design Associates for his tireless and talented efforts in getting the site just the way we wanted it. Delighted is not the word. (Well, it is, but you know what we mean.) Mr B, thanks so much!


And finally, best not to do a website launch the same way you would a ship. Not only do you end up with Champagne all over the floor, but your laptop doesn't look too healthy afterwards either.


We hope you enjoy your time on BonMots...


BonMots: Website design by Seven Design Associates.
                  Words by BonMots.