Belated felicitations of the season and all that. It has been just a touch over a year since I last put finger to keyboard to share my musings, discoveries and thoughts on matters financial and I feel you have been spared long enough.
So then; 2013, how was it for you? For us it was very busy, with a significant portion of time being spent on tracing various next of kin and beneficiaries as well as administering estates. All this in addition to the ‘usual’ life insurance, pensions and investments. (If you haven’t done so already, please make a will.) What else has been going on?
King Richard III was found under a Leicester car park, but I bet if his ghost shouted “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”, he wouldn’t have expected to be served a frozen lasagne.
A politician told a truth, when Chris Huhne pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
In February, Moody’s, the credit rating agency, cut the UK’s AAA rating to AA1, with a warning economic growth would be “sluggish” but seeing as they missed the debt crisis spiralling in western markets between 2001 and 2008 I wouldn’t pay them too much mind.
Cyprus came up with a novel way to deal with the nations debt problems, by simply taking the money out of the bank accounts of those people who actually had some. Genius.
We now have a Canadian, Mark Carney, as the new Governor of the Bank of England and he was selected largely because he was perhaps the only banker to be found that hadn’t royally mucked up (yet).
Scot Andy Murray suddenly became British when he won the mens singles at Wimbledon
A portion of The Royal Mail was given away, whilst the US teeters on default and is forced to send federal employees home.
The efficacy of bank regulation is further established with the discovery the regulators carefully and meticulously vetted and approved the appointment of Paul Flowers, Methodist minister, drug user and banking newbie to be Chairman of Co-operative Bank.
Prince George arrived and whilst waiting we heard BBC reporter Simon McCoy tell us “Plenty more to come from here of course, none of it news.”
On an almost serious note, if you need to complete a tax return, remember the deadline is 31st January. HMRC in a rare moment of humanity have published what they consider to be the ten best / worst excuses for submitting late:
2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer).
3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman).
4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader).
5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser).
6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer).
7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver).
8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man).
9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm).
10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).
In a return to form for HMRC, all the above were find £100.
In a press release, HMRC’s Director General of Personal Tax, Ruth Owen, said: “There will always be unforeseen events that mean a taxpayer could not file their tax return on time. However, your pet goldfish passing away isn’t one of them.”
Bye for now and remember, “There is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.” (Chris Hadfield, International Space Station Commander.)