Can I borrow the cement mixer?

When the French and Italians come together for, say, cooking it’s a good thing… the combination of tastes and textures can be quite wonderful.

When they come together to build, say, a car… run a mile. The combination is terrible and the thing will fall apart in very short order!

It’s much the same thing when HR and the Inland Revenue come together. Just get out of the way or batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to pass.

What’s caused this particular rant, I hear you ask?

Well, I was at an employer’s update day recently and I found myself laughing wholeheartedly at some of the things they were saying.

Here’s an example…

It’s that time of year when P11Ds are due. P11Ds are the notification to the HMRC when an employee has a Benefit in Kind, such as some entertainment expenses.

In Scotland we have a thing called Trades Fortnight, usually the first couple of weeks in July, when the trades people have their holidays.

The scenario put to us by the trainer was this: it’s Trades Fortnight and a building firm is closing for a couple of weeks and one of the guys asks to borrow a cement mixer because he wants to lay a new patio. The mixer isn’t being used and so the boss agrees.

According to HMRC this is a Benefit in Kind because a business asset has been used for personal reasons and, therefore, it must be declared on a P11D.

When we’d all stopped laughing, a wag from the audience put his hand up and had the temerity to ask which planet the trainer had originated from!

I mean, the guy was technically correct but clearly originated from Fantasy World if he thought anything like the scenario he described was ever going to make it onto a statutory return. It was pointed out to him that, in the real world, the boss of the business probably didn’t know it needed to be declared and that he was doing the guy a favour. As a result he wouldn’t write it down and it would be forgotten about when the P11D was due a year later!

The trainer was clearly affronted by this assertion that he wasn’t really in touch with reality and the rest of the day (which turned out to be very short) passed with somewhat frosty exchanges.

Remember to notify your accountant of all the benefits and P11Ds are due by 6th July!

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