TaxAdministrationChimps succeed on self assessment where others have failed

Chimps succeed on self assessment where others have failed

Taxman says primate bahaviour leads to clearer thinking on self assessment

Primates yesterday

Zoologists have revealed they have taught chimpanzees how to complete a self
assessment form and calculate their own tax liabilities.

The chimps were among a group that had already mastered sign language and had
been moved on to a test for numeracy skills among primates. The chimps, a group
of 6, scored a remarkable 80 per cent success rate at calculating their own tax
liabilities, substantially higher than the success rate reported for UK filers
by tax officials.

The hit rate only fell when the chimps were asked to include income earned as
interest in their calculations. Even then it was a remarkable 70 per cent.

Scientists began the exercise by teaching the chimps to part with a certain
proportion of their daily banana allocation as a ‘lunch levy’.

The conclusions are set to revolutionise thinking about primate behaviour and
inform the way tax experts construct self assessment forms and the self
assessmentwebsite.

A spokesman said: ‘We think it might be easier for tax payers if we ask them
to calculate how many bananas they owe us. Our thinking in this area is now
entirely bananas.’

Confusion remained over non-doms and whether they would have to pay bananas
from their overseas ‘bunch’. Owners of plantations could be particularly badly
hit.

One non-dom told Accountancy Age he was feeling bruised and battered
by the whole issue.

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