Not that old story again[QQ] Robert Maas should try to stop letting his prejudice show. The two examples of government unfairness he gave in his article on 18 May were, as he must know, non-events. In the first example the tribunal found in favour of the taxpayer. His comment was about as newsworthy as the old “Dog bites man” story.

Surely that’s what VAT tribunals and commissioners are there for – to curb the more zealous civil servants. We had a case last year concerning Revenue information powers under the self-assessment enquiry system. We took it to the commissioners and won, the commissioners issuing a S28A closure notice.

The second example dealing with private motoring has been the attitude of Customs & Excise supported by the tribunals for many years – as he very well knows. We’ve had at least two instances of this; in one case the client decided not to pursue the matter and in the other case it went to a tribunal and the client lost. While I agree with him that the private motoring decision is unfair, it has nothing to do with the present government.

I would suggest his time would be better spent making reasoned arguments and representations against unfair practices rather than spurious and unsupportable attacks on the wrong targets.

David Driver, Cumbria

Everybody is cheering

I am sure we were all cheered to read from the letter from the director of communications of the Revenue (Accountancy Age, 1 June) that its software is Y2K compliant – it just will not run on Y2K-compliant computers. So everything is ok.

Keith LePla, Bexleyheath

An inspiration to us all

I was thrilled to read Sixty years in Practice (Taking Stock 25 May) about Sidney White. As Secretary of North West London Society of Chartered Accountants, I am very happy to inform you that Sidney has been Hon. Auditor of our Society for over 15 years.

Throughout these years, he has displayed the highest professionalism at his young age of 84. He has been voted again by a huge majority to continue as Hon. Auditor at our recent 9 May agm as there are no signs of his retirement yet!

In strengthening the professional service ethos as a CA, Sidney has balanced the need for fulfilment and personal achievements with collective professional, social and national responsibilities at the critical time.

Those of us who are privileged to know him get great inspiration and sense of professionalism from this remarkable fellow chartered accountant.

Surinder Kaul, London

So now it’s my fault?

I was interested to read the article by Ann Baldwin entitled Left In The Kitchen at Parties? (Opinion, p14, 1 June). She mentioned the old joke about the balloonist and the person from whom the former takes advice who turns out to be an accountant.

She goes on to say ‘I always liked the longer story where the accountant responds: “And you must be a managing director … because your head is in the clouds and you have no idea where you are.”‘ I hate to take issue with Ms Baldwin, but a much better ending to the story was given to me by an ex-employer, one of those rare few who could remain both genuinely optimistic and equally cynical.

According to him, the accountant responds “you must be a managing director … because you’re in the same **** you were in five minutes ago, but now it’s apparently my fault …”

Lee Barnett, New Barnet, Herts

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