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Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs with a sense of humour?

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs with a sense of...

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Best of 09 WinnerDear Mr Addison

I am writing to you to express our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise. I will address them, as ever, in order.

Firstly, I must take issue with your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we at the Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy, traditionally referred to such documents.

Secondly, your frustration at our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted. However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper councils, Lombardy pirate banking houses and pissant gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised. In common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin" or, come to that, a "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great Britain, with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the nation as a whole.

Which brings me to my next point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly that is the Public Services", a moment's rudimentary calculation ought to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself.

The estimates you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark. Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish lickspittles" and "dancing whores" whilst far more than you have accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking facade of a university system."

A couple of technical points arising from direct queries:

1. The reason we don't simply write "Muggins"on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the postal system;

2. You can rest assured that "sucking the very marrow of those with nothing else to give" has never been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live in India" you would still owe us the money.

Please send it to us by Friday.

Yours sincerely,

H J Lee
Customer Relations
Inland Revenue

Replies (7)

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By Anonymous
14th Oct 2009 11:40

Now that's cheered up the day with a smile

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By Anonymous
14th Oct 2009 12:02

Laughed out loud! and kept laughing
And that takes some doing - didnt think there was anyone left in dear HMRC capable. Its the kind of letter you really want to write sometimes - and sometimes actually do, but then someone "upstairs" objects and it never gets sent.

Made my day!

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By landscaper
14th Oct 2009 12:32


A thing of beauty and has made my day too. 


I do so appreciate a well constructed letter.


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By WhichTyler
14th Oct 2009 13:18

Credit where it is due...

This has been amusing the nation since 2003, when it was written by the comedian Chris Addison for his 'Funny Money' column in the Guardian.

Still funny though

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By spidersong
14th Oct 2009 14:07

Days gone

Although the above is sadly debunked, there was in fact some humour in the darkest corners of Her Maj's C&E (as was).

When I first joined HMCE many moons ago, my boss was of the old school of civil servants, who was both civil and wished to provide a service to the public. We had one customer who wrote in (when such things could be done locally) wishing to know whether, as his doctor had advised him that a tot of whisky at night was beneficial, he might be able to purchase it zero rated as prescription medicine (this was back in the days when doctors made such comments).

The spirit (no pun intended) of the letter was such that the writer was not expecting a positive response, but would obviously appreciate being treated as a human being, and so a suitable reply was composed, literally.

The poem that we sent in response to the letter tickled the old gent so much that he passed it to the local paper, who published it, and for his troubles presented him with a bottle or two of the hard stuff to keep him going in the absence of a full prescription.

Unfortunately I've lost my copy of the poem, but it's now a museum piece, as the best he'd get these days is a suggestion he read the notice for himself to decide.

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By skylarking
14th Oct 2009 15:31

Left me cold
I don't want them to have a sense of humour. I just want them to get things right.
'Inland Revenue'? Not exactly topical either, is it. Perhaps it was from a bygone age when the system wasn't broken.

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By vinylnobbynobbs
15th Oct 2009 10:49

HMR&C Reply
This is an excellant piece of fiction which always makes me laugh, I have a copy of it on my computer and I refer to it now and again but it has been around for at least 6 years.

However a true story which happened just last week but not HMR&C related. A client was trying to sort out something with a "customer helpline" and getting incresingly frustrated as he was passed around the system. Eventually he snapped and expressed his anger at the person on the end of the line and asked if there was any one who could help him? He was given another telephone number which he duly rang to fing that it was the NHS mental health hotline.

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