Friday, December 22, 2006



Perhaps happiness means different things to different people. An HMRC Press Release earlier this week mentioned that last year 270 people actually filed their tax returns online on Christmas Day.

I tend to drink too much, eat too much, drink a bit more and fall asleep in front of the TV on Christmas Day. I thought that is what everybody does.

I find it hard to get my mind around the fact that apparently some people, instead of becoming merry, clear the debris of the turkey and pudding off the dining room table, spread out their tax papers, turn on the computer and settle down to their tax returns. At least I hope the indication is that they complete their tax returns sober, rather than that they need their quota of Christmas drinks before they can face up to trying to recollect what happened during the previous tax year. Completing a tax return requires a clear head, if only because HMRC are adept at pouncing on mistakes and omissions and exacting a penalty in retribution for any perceived carelessness.

So, to any readers of the column to whom happiness is a warm (off the press) tax return, “If that’s what makes you happy OK, but have you ever thought about getting a life?” To the rest of you “I’m not intending to grapple with tax on Christmas Day, I’ve got better things to do. I hope that you’re not either but that you will find a better route to happiness over Christmas and (unlike the 1776 people who were fit enough after last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations to file their tax returns on New Year’s Day) have a joyous New Year too.”


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