A small victory for the little man against the menacing taxman

Regular Sloggers may remember that, following an 18-month battle to get beyond the HMRC pond-life, I sent a registered letter to the section head there – whose inaccurate claims had moved on from blunt reminders of money I didn’t owe to threats of heavy legal action and media-shaming if I didn’t cough up a hundred quid by return.

So I sent a registered letter to the bloke involved, copied to the relevant Treasury Mandarin by email with links to Slogposts previous on the subject of peanuts, monkeys etc.

This is what arrived this morning in reply:



I wonder how many of you remember a truly wonderful vintage BBC comedy series called Misleading Cases? It ran from 1967-71 – that is, for a large percentage of my time at University….and its recurrent theme was the increasingly cunning attempts by reluctant taxpayer Alfred Haddock (Roy Dotrice) to outwit the Revenue in Court cases brought before a judge played by the most consistently anti-Establishment comedic actor of all time, Alistair Sim.

I was in those days quite often in the main Liverpool University Students’ TV lounge from around 4pm until 10pm – as often as not risking my Grant monies with Iraqi engineering students in a poker school. The two unmissable programmes capable of packing this vast room to the rafters were The Magic Roundabout, and Misleading Cases. Dotrice variously signed Revenue cheques on a cow, sent payments via the Thames in a bottle and employed mediaeval tax rulings to successfully avoid the spindly Nosforatu grabbing fingers of the voracious Inland Revenue.

I am a long way from being in the same class as A P Herbert’s Mr Haddock, but sweeping and peaceful leech-salting campaigns can be won, eventually, by many such small victories.

Last Night at The Slog: Paris attacks and poisonous agendas

10 thoughts on “A small victory for the little man against the menacing taxman

  1. John, that was a favourite prog of mine, too. I definitely remember that episode (EVERY time I fill out a tax form.)
    I heartily recommend you send your cheque (for £0.00p of course) to said mandarin on the side of a cow.
    (To avoid expenditure I do suggest it’s a stuffed or paper one).
    With a bit (a lot?) of luck he/she MAY get the joke and reference.
    Sadly, I have my doubts.


  2. well done…. i didn’t think it possible. I know a couple of women who always get what they want out of the council even though nobody else seems too. their technique was to kick up stink and cause an ongoing nuisance that they finally gave them what they wanted to get them to shut up.


  3. Alas, I expect it will not be long before HMRC’s recently granted confiscation, err.. recovery powers are widened and the money will just vanish from your account. How civilised, guilty unless proven innocent.



  4. Congrats,it is not often one can gain victory over HMRC, unless you are a Corporation with a revolving door policy of inducement to favorable outcomes .


  5. A.P.Herbert’s “Misleading Cases”, including the famous Codd’s Last Case are still worth reading.
    Herbert was M.P. for Oxford University until the seat was abolished under Labour. He was an RNR Petty officer in WW2. Swam in the Thames daily, being pointed out by pleasure-boat excursion guides. Great guy.


  6. The other way (which I use) is to pretend to be important. It’s doubly gratifying because it confirms my belief that the only thing to make the NCOs jump in any bureaucracy is to suggest a black mark is coming their way.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s