9am Lowdown: Accounting software touchdowns in Superbowl commercials

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Good morning. Here’s your 9am Lowdown.

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Superbowl 50: Accounting touchdowns in the Superbowl commercials

Last night American Football fans saw the Denver Broncos lift the Vince Lombadi trophy after they defeated the Carolina Panthers in the SuperBowl 50 final. However, in-between the action, Superbowl fans also saw accounting software featured in the raft of flashy commercials.

Accounting software Quickbooks paid the high price tag these commercials command to showcase one of the small businesses using their software. According to Heavy.com, these commercials typical rake in $5m.

Death Wish Coffee won the competition. The Viking advertisement shows a ship steering over harsh waters to the cries of “awaken and welcome death”. The camera pulls back and reveals the ship in a coffee mug, crashing down a man’s open mouth.

Watch the Superbowl commercial here:

Anthony Hopkins, meanwhile, fronted a Superbowl commercial for Turbo tax. In the commercial, Hopkins claims he will never “tarnish his name” by selling something. As he says this he sips on a tea cup which brandishes the Turbo Tax brand.

Wearing TurboTax slippers, Hopkins explains how TurboTax lets you file your taxes for free.

Watch the Superbowl commercial here: 

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Dispatches challenges tax avoidance

Actor Greg Wise will speak out against ‘legitimate’ tax avoidance in the Channel 4 Dispatches which will broadcast this evening.

Wise goes undercover, speaking with people who claim to zero his tax bill. While Wise was expecting such schemes, he wrote in The Guardian how he “wasn’t prepared for the murk” he found with HMRC.

Wise wrote: “HMRC doesn’t report on the scale of aggressive tax avoidance. They don’t want stats to show how shoddy they are.”

Wise also spoke about how HMRC is being eviscerated by the workforce being cut in half, which is exacerbated by “imaginative tax consultants” who “run rings around HMRC.” He said: “It’s impossible for the likes of us to see an Inspector face-to-face, so we go through the ignominy of calling their helpline and listening to a 3-week-trained operator reading from a crib-sheet. Everything is farmed out to the lowest-cost option now.”

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Statue of Satan reduced Jeffery Archer’s tax bill

Lord Jeffery Archer has donated a statue of Satan to the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, taking advantage of the Cultural gifts scheme tax break.

The FT explains how this donation will reduce Archer’s income tax or capital gains liabilities by up to 30% of the objects value. This incentive encourages donors to improve the collections of favoured museums, rather than making more money by selling the work on the open market.

Speaking about the benefits of the cultural gift scheme, Alexander Sturgis, Ashmolean director, told the FT: “What they allow us to do is acquire work that simply would be beyond our reach. The way in which our collection has grown in recent years is in large part down to these schemes.”
 

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