Please reconsider Richard

Please do

Didn't find your answer?

Dear Richard

I can’t post on the thread about the ICAEW CGT return guidance that digressed into a discussion on an idea to avoid the obligation to make a CGT return as it is now blocked., so I’ve started this one.

As you have only undertaken never to comment again, I trust that you will see this post.

I fully endorse Hugo and Tax Dragon’s comments and I too urge you to reconsider.

Although I was shocked by TD’s confession that she didn’t read the longest posts on the thread.  I put the kettle on, raid the biscuit tin and take the phone off the hook and then read your long posts.

I too hope that you decide to comment again.

 

Replies (30)

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By Catherine Newman
02nd Jun 2023 19:41

I take it this is Richard Thomas and, if so, am gutted.

I don't follow the section numbers but love his comments in the McGreavy case and his insights into other cases.

As a judge he only makes rational comments.

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By Hugo Fair
02nd Jun 2023 19:42

I have no idea at whose behest the thread was removed in its entirety, which always seems a shame, but there were some wholly unnecessary and frankly malicious comments ... so good riddance to it (although I have a full backup archived).

For those who didn't visit the thread just before it was rescinded, my parting shot on it was:
.

"Richard, I hope you will review that intention (to never comment again) ... your comments on this site (even if occasionally going over my head) are insightful, interesting and always impeccable in their erudition and adherence to professional standards.
These are, as I'm sure you're aware, commodities in increasingly rare supply.

Of course, we are each and every one of us entirely free to choose where and when to invest our time & efforts ... and, at dare I say our age, have earned the right to avoid the unpleasant (especially when fully undeserved).

However, although occasionally browbeaten or worse (and deservedly so in a fewer number of cases), I don't regard it as pompous when I say that invariably I bounce back ... certain in my belief that I do more good than harm, and there is no valid reason to deprive the world of the opportunity to hear my contributions (or indeed to ignore them if they prefer)!

All that is a convoluted way of saying that I hope you will return ... your insights will be missed until then, even though I'm sure the wait will be worthwhile.

In the meantime, enjoy a (brief) break in a calmer environment where you can reflect on the assurance that fellow members see no calumny hanging over you."

.
This site needs people like Richard - not just for the quality of answers & insights, but to keep the rest of us on our professional toes.

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By taxdigital
03rd Jun 2023 08:15

Differences of opinion in technical matters aside, I, for one, enjoyed the way Richard Thomas would go about slicing and dicing the tax legislation to their most sub atomic parts! In relation to the allegations of defamation I would have expected him to take a more liberal view of the fundamental freedom of expression.

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By Justin Bryant
03rd Jun 2023 09:37

I don't blame RT (who was undoubtedly the best poster ever here by a very, very long way) and you can blame Aweb for this for not banning the well known troublemaking trolls who add no value here at all only spoil things for the rest of us with their wholly unnecessary caustic and gratuitously offensive or just plain rude for the sake of it nasty, spiteful and malicious comments (always under an anonymous pseudonym of course).

You cannot blame the trolls themselves I suppose as they are all sad, pathological idiots who cannot help themselves. There's no cure for idiocy basically.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
03rd Jun 2023 10:03

I wasn't following the thread, but always enjoy reading RT's high quality posts.

Not that I always understand them, but that is on me, not him.

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By Paul Crowley
03rd Jun 2023 12:11

Agree all comments to date
Richard has experience and knowledge we can only aspire to
I saw the richard hattersley posting and wrongly assumed it referred to another, different contributor
Please reconsider
You are one of the few that we all know by initials.

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By Tax Dragon
03rd Jun 2023 14:47

I think Richard earned the right to be offended in that ex-thread. To some extent it was his choice to take offence, but... when you have the CV, the renown, that Richard has (out there in the real world I mean), when you possess the knowledge and intelligence that Richard possesses, when you bring all that into a... well, into here, and plainly do so in order to share your knowledge - to help (why else was he here?)... and if you identify as yourself... then, if you consider yourself, not only unappreciated but also actually besmirched [by, as Justin says, people hiding behind pseudonymity... as I do myself, of course], I can understand why you could - probably would - maybe even should - be offended.

What's most notable to my mind from [the bits I read of] the unfortunate exchanges in that ex-thread is that Richard apologised where he himself caused offence. A few 'sorry's and retractions from a few more of us would sometimes be appropriate. They were (and are) certainly owed to Richard.

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By Mr_awol
03rd Jun 2023 15:21

Missed the thread (probably just as well by the sounds of it) but, whilst my input doesnt (typically) mean much, i would like to add to those comments that have expressed appreciation for Richard's comments on here and also say that i too would be disappointed (even though it sounds like he would have good reason) if he decided not to contribute further.

Hopefully it will be a spur of the moment, pushed too far on the day, thing.

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Replying to Mr_awol:
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By gainsborough
05th Jun 2023 12:09

I too missed the thread but also wanted to voice my appreciation on RTs comprehensive replies and analysis.

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By DKB-Sheffield
03rd Jun 2023 16:48

This is really bad news... to all contributors, and the forum as a whole. Richard, a wholly verifiable member, with excellent pedigree, has offered so much to Any Answers, for so long.

As with others, my first reading of many of Richard's posts, makes my mind boggle a little (I consider myself to be one of the 'idiots' to whom Justin refers - I simply don't have anywhere near the same level of knowledge/ experience of RT). However, they are always extremely informative, well thought-out, and fully referenced to legislation/ case law - thus prompting further research/ reading.

Regarding the now deleted thread (to which I did not contribute - but did follow), I can understand how - the way it panned our - it could have had repercussions on Richard professionally (and personally). I am actually glad the thread has been deleted - not because I believe Richard was wrong - but, because certain allegations in that thread have the potential to cause harm. After all, this is a public forum (open to the entire web) and a single stray comment - taken out of context of the entire thread - is all it takes! I sincerely hope SIFT ensure the thread is deleted, not simply archived (with a potential Google 'back door' search).

On the subject of anonymity, I am wholly understanding of Richard's position. Whilst anonymity is no bad thing, it does leave those using their real names (or real world identifiers) much more open to risk. Sift should have some personal details for members (in the case of any direct libelous or related actions) but whether these are correct/ up to date/ relevant - I don't know. However, we - in the open forum - must ensure allegations, accusations, and derogatory references are avoided - particularly where someone 'name' is not clothed in secrecy!

Richard, I hope you read this thread and understand how your contributions are valued within this community. I wholeheartedly understand your reasons for stepping away - be it short-term, or a permanent absence. However, if you don' contribute to Any Answers in the future (or to AWeb as a whole) it will certainly be a huge loss!

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By jonharris999
05th Jun 2023 07:27

I missed the whole thing - but just to say that there are several people on this thread who have contributed more to my professional development than any lecturer or tutor ever did, and Richard you are most certainly among these. Please reconsider.

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Replying to jonharris999:
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By paulwakefield1
05th Jun 2023 07:46

jonharris999 wrote:

I missed the whole thing - but just to say that there are several people on this thread who have contributed more to my professional development than any lecturer or tutor ever did, and Richard you are most certainly among these. Please reconsider.

Hear, Hear.

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Richard Hattersley
By Richard Hattersley
05th Jun 2023 11:09

I have had to moderate a number of posts on this thread. Of all the discussions on the site this is the last thread I would have thought I would have to moderate comments for name calling. This is a reminder that name calling is not tolerated on the site.

If you have an issue, either contact one of the moderators on the site or click the 'report' button.

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Replying to Richard Hattersley:
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By Catherine Newman
06th Jun 2023 20:54

It is obvious that I had a rocky path on Accountingweb a few weeks ago but stood my ground and stuck it out.

Having re-read the posts a certain extradition was the cause of this and if it was her v Richard that is an absolute travesty.

I did not complain but whoever has complained about Richard Thomas is bang out of order.

My practical responses and successful stories on sales close to the year end are based on his rulings.

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Replying to Catherine Newman:
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By DKB-Sheffield
06th Jun 2023 21:16

Catherine Newman wrote:

It is obvious that I had a rocky path on Accountingweb a few weeks ago but stood my ground and stuck it out.

Having re-read the posts a certain extradition was the cause of this and if it was her v Richard that is an absolute travesty.

I did not complain but whoever has complained about Richard Thomas is bang out of order.

My practical responses and successful stories on sales close to the year end are based on his rulings.

Just clarify. To my knowledge, nobody on this thread has complained about Richard T. Richard H's post - I believe - is referring to a somewhat unrelated matter.

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By Jane Evans
05th Jun 2023 13:46

I am not aware of the thread that underlies Richard's decision, but if he has gone then this is a huge loss to us all. Richard, thank you for all the answers and information you have provided to us. I have learned so much, and appreciate your kindness in using your knowledge to help us.

Accountants and lawyers approach tax work from different directions, but often have a similar destination in mind; you have shown me the benefit of the lawyers' approach and I thank you for it.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
05th Jun 2023 13:59

I wonder whether Richard might yet be tempted back:
https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/any-answers/accountingweb-is-looking-for...

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By Hugo Fair
05th Jun 2023 20:55

Acting as amanuensis, I'm happy to provide below Richard's message to this thread:

“I am humbled and flattered by the responses to mul’s post (and the contents of that post). I have contributed to Accounting Web because it seemed to be a home for many busy tax accountants who know their stuff when it’s the day to day familiar events, but struggle with the one-off and novel issues or with the dreadful decline in HMRC standards, knowledge and service. Those of my former colleagues who remain, not many now, tell me of the dreadful dumbing down of standards, the grades at which work is done and the lack of both initial training and CPD: the law of tax is unknown to most of them and so the manuals become the (un)holy text. I wanted to help mainly by providing the legal side of things so that those with problems with HMRC had the upper hand. I learned tax law in HMRC.

Apart from a few idiots who I got thrown off, my comments generally seemed to get a good reception. I never claimed a monopoly of wisdom of the moral high ground: look at the number of times I was overturned by the Upper Tribunal (they were wrong, of course, but authoritative).

I started to get a little anxious when Winnie Wiggleroom posted about the status of advice on Accounting Web. I was also conscious that I had made possibly unfair fun of the pomposity and orotundity of a particular contributor whose practice may not actually be in Torquay (Dickens is my favourite novelist). Because for nearly all my tax career I have been a close analyst of tax law and cases (absolutely essential, if, like me, you were responsible for 700+ pages of primary tax legislation and 115 statutory instruments). I don’t approach tax law from the standpoint of what I would like to be the case. I would like tax avoidance not to exist, but it does, and is mostly legal. Based on my analysis of what the law says I suggested that there might be a way round making an excessive payment on account of CGT.

The reaction to that from the maybe-Torquay quarter was so unexpected, muddled and illogical that I truly wondered if my current drug regime was responsible for a lack of judgment. It may have been, but thinking (and worrying) about it for some weeks I would say not. But that regime which follows my second heart procedure in recent years has made me think about the future. I am 74 and my memory is fading slightly (if you want to see it operating at its height try finding on Youtube etc the 2003 series of University Challenge - the Professionals) . I am currently sitting in Southern Spain in my house there listening to Pallid Swifts screeching and drinking the local dry muscat wine and I want to enjoy myself without reminding myself that it is a FHL where the treatment of losses is iniquitous and that Spanish tax on non-EU non-resident landlords is also iniquitous and contrary to the ECHR.

That is a rather highfalutin’ way of saying I am reassessing my priorities, and I’m afraid my current preoccupations, drinking excellent Spanish wine, eating self-prepared food from proper ingredients and wildlife photography outweigh commenting on Accounting Web.

Things may possibly change, but while I am an active contributor to learned and academic matters and to official consultations I am not going to make any comments on any forum where others might be minded to misconstrue them as advocating criminal or fraudulent behaviour. Remember "Enemies of the People”? All judges do.

It was I who asked Richard Hattersley to take down the thread or at least the parts that were commenting on my “plan”. I have agreed with him that all my comments on any other post can remain.

I wish you all well (well all but one)

Richard Thomas"

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Hugo Fair
05th Jun 2023 21:12

Whilst I am extremely sorry to hear Richard's decision (those of us who remain will be the poorer for the lack of his contributions), I also of course respect his decision.

In my usual slightly infantile way, I smiled inwardly at the image conjured by "I am currently sitting in Southern Spain in my house there listening to Pallid Swifts screeching and drinking the local dry muscat wine" ... partly because I recognise the attractions of that (well-earned) lifestyle, and partly at the accidental thought of swifts drinking the wine! [Apologies for the flippancy].

I'm sure I'm not alone in hoping to see the return of Richard, even if sporadically and maybe contributing Articles rather than to Any Answers, but in the meantime wish him all the happiness of a retired lifestyle free of the encumbrances of an overly critical audience.

Te deseo lo mejor de la vida

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Tax Dragon
05th Jun 2023 22:11

Gives a whole new meaning to "a swift half"...

Thank you Hugo for your comment - and thank you Richard for yours.

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
06th Jun 2023 10:37

Hugo Fair acting as amanuensis wrote:

I am currently sitting in Southern Spain in my house there listening to Pallid Swifts screeching and drinking the local dry muscat wine and I want to enjoy myself without reminding myself that it is a FHL where the treatment of losses is iniquitous and that Spanish tax on non-EU non-resident landlords is also iniquitous and contrary to the ECHR.

Are there ways around that?

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
06th Jun 2023 11:12

I totally concur with Richard's priorities, life is too short to obsess over tax.

I look forward to my own sitting outside during the working day(the last week or so has been a fair test with the sun actually shining) , watching my magpies or greeting the foxes who sunbathe on my shed roof, whilst I quaff a beer (Scottish not English, English beer tends to be too hoppy for my palate)

Just over 2yrs 10mths to go.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Dib
06th Jun 2023 13:15

Scary thought that I am only 6 - 9 months behind you.

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Replying to Dib:
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By Hugo Fair
06th Jun 2023 14:19

There's a lot of knowledge/experience standing near the exit door, isn't there!

I sometimes wonder whether it was always thus (I wouldn't have noticed when I wasn't in the queue) ... or whether wheels are coming off across the board (look also at doctors and other professions)?

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
06th Jun 2023 14:33

Think we might bolt on some AI to the next generation?

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Replying to Hugo Fair:
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By Duhamel
06th Jun 2023 21:56

This sounds like a marvellous retirement. Enjoy it for a long time Richard!

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By More unearned luck
09th Jun 2023 16:31

Will Richard be able to resist commenting on Howard-Ravenspine? See the postscript. A rare apology from HMRC in the FTT.

Confirming Richard's comment about the decline in HMRC's standards, at least 4 officers got this wrong:
*The officer issuing the DA
*The review officer
*The author of the SoC
*The presenting officer, but only initially.

https://financeandtax.decisions.tribunals.gov.uk/judgmentfiles/j12749/TC...

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By More unearned luck
09th Jun 2023 16:33

And what seems very odd is that these officers were prepared to assess the HICBC but not bog standard IT on the £87K.

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By Hugo Fair
09th Jun 2023 20:10

Quite ... although I suppose that when the blinkers are affixed so firmly as they were here (judge having to point out where they've not even followed their own manuals), then you get 'rabbit in the headlights' syndrome - and people (or at least the HMRC variety) forget about the total/wider picture!

But kudos to the presenting officer for her (very belated) apology, which is unlikely to have been appreciated by her bosses?

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Replying to More unearned luck:
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By Justin Bryant
14th Jun 2023 09:36

To be fair to HMRC's litigator (and other staff) here, they were only following HMRC's (misconceived) guidance below (so you can blame its author instead), so it's hardly their fault and well done to the sensible judge:

https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/employment-income-manual/eim13630

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