Even serious tax people need to lighten their mood sometimes, so our Head of Tax, Chris Williams, has produced something different to greet the festive season. Just note, however, that even in this jollity there hides some serious tax points.

At Signature Tax we are used to resolving the problems of the globally mobile and nobody exemplifies this better than our client “Santax” who is busiest of at this time of year.

Life isn’t just about hyper-light speed travel and mince pies for our flying philanthropist. He spends most of the year planning what he will give which involves a lot of checking much more than twice who’s been naughty and nice. That’s a task that requires massive investment in IT to track all the orders. That’s where Signature come in to claim credits for the Research and Development costs of systems specially designed to keep up with the latest gifts and gadgets and an ever-changing client base. In keeping with his high ethical standards his entire work force is on PAYE (Pay all Your Elves) and he doesn’t employ any casual staff. As he puts it “The National Elf Service employs only the most diligent and professional people, ho, ho, ho!”. In fact the dwarfs are all highly specialised: none is sleepy, grumpy or dopey and most seem to be happy. They are well supported by the AMS medical services team due to a lucky misunderstanding about our specialist expertise in dealing with Docs.

Everyone visitor to his workshops remarks on how many of his staff are mothers. Their work stations are scaled down to suit their small stature, there is a free creche for the children (who come in handy for product testing) and all are paid above the mini-mum wage.

Transport is a source of constant dispute between Santax and the Finland Revenue about the emissions and benefit in kind rating of his sleigh. He insisted it should be treated as a van but they pointed out that it had runners instead of wheels. Eventually the two sides compromised on a sliding scale. 

Another dispute that we resolved concerned free provision of protective clothing to the staff “because it’s always rained ‘ere!”

But the one issue that won’t go away is Santax’s tax status. He glories in claiming Citizen of Nowhere status because neither he nor the authorities know where he is on any given midnight. They thought they had him when the consensus emerged that his place of birth was Patara in Turkey. Luckily for our client his appeal succeeded when the tax inspector, when questioned, refused to say whether he actually believed in Santax’s existence, so saving him 1,750 years’ unpaid tax.

They then tried to assert UK domicile but failed because they couldn’t prove UK residence in 15 of the last 20 years, and questions about his place of birth were met with “It was a long time ago and I was really very young at the time.”

The embedded messages were all examples of the sort of services we at Signature Tax take pride in providing to the highest standard: research and development tax credits offer government cash to creative industries; the Government’s need to raise money post-Covid-19 and PAYE is one of its biggest sources; we have a leading medical and professional services team; cars and other benefits in kind can still be highly cost-effective; we are the equal of any advisor on private client tax and estate planning, especially for non-doms and have a strong offering to anyone unfortunate enough to suffer an HMRC enquiry.

Best wishes from the team at Signature Tax and may all your tax-free Christmas benefits be white-spaced.

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