HMRC Chases Gr00gle
Mr Sprocket (Inspector of Taxes) wakes on the fateful morning. He has a meeting with Sprogs, Head of Finance at Gr00Gle. He dresses as usual: well worn grey suit, grey shirt (it had been white once, now faded to grey) green tie (only slightly stained with gravy) and brown shoes (somewhat dusty). His toilet complete he jumped into his faithful red Sierra and heads for Gr00Gle’s HQ in the heart of the city.
Sprocket parked his Sierra in a visitor’s space and noticed as he exits what's left of his car that he’s parked next to a smart Lexus 460 saloon. A further glance reveals a car park littered with expensive German saloons. Rich Bastards, he thinks. Looking around he sees the entrance to the impressive chrome tower office block and heads for the door.
Sprocket puts out a hand to open the door but it glides back of its own accord. Smooth, he thought. He walks (or wades) across the thick carpet to the reception desk. “Hello” he says to the pneumatic lady sitting across the desk, “my name is Sprocket from HMRC and I have come to see...” but he got no further. “Sign here please Sir” the lady says “they are waiting for you”. Sprocket signs the computer screen somewhat awkwardly. Why can’t they just have a book like everyone else, he muses to himself.
The receptionist directs him to an express elevator. “Take the lift to the 68th floor she says, you will be collected”. As he walks to the lift he replayed what she’d said in his head “they are waiting for you”.... who are ‘they’ he wondered. The express elevator lived up to its name and whisked him to floor 68. There was only just time to polish his brown shoes on the back of his trousers before the lift stopped with a jerk and a chime. Outside the lift a smartly dressed lady (secretary he imagined) was waiting. “Good morning Mr Sprocket” she said “follow me please”.
She led the way into a sizable meeting room decked out without regard to cost. To his surprise the room was full of people he didn't know but he recognised Sprogs who came forward to meet him. “Good Morning” says Sprogs shaking his hand, “we are all prepared for you”. "Let me make the introductions though I am sure you know everyone" - although this was patently not true. At any rate Sprogs made a supreme effort in this case and introduced each member of the team:
“Firstly can I introduce you to Mr Cash our Partner at PVVC and these are three of his Directors, a tax advisor from the USA, one from France and one from the UK”. Sprocket shook their hands limply but immediately forgot their names. They were dressed like everyone in the room in razor-sharp suits, crisp shirts, shining leather shoes and fabulous ties. Sprocket was very conscious of his own attire which in comparison was manifestly downmarket. “Next” continued Sprogs “we have our Head of Legal and two of his legal advisors from Baker & McKenzie. Sprocket knew that Bakers were the best and most expensive legal advisors that money could buy. The Bakers guys smiled at him, the sort of smiles that crocodiles do.
The Gr00Gle guys sat on one side of the long table and Sprocket noticed that the only other chair was on the other side of the table. He sat down. A smart lady offered him Tea or Coffee which he declined. “So” said Sprogs “I understand that your office feels that there is some issue with our tax affairs – how can we help you with that?” he enquired. Sweat broke out in Sprocket’s brow then he could hear a fire alarm ringing – what the heck he thought? Then he woke up. It was just his alarm clock. It had all been a bad dream after all.
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