HMRC admit they don’t understand self-assessment tax either

“Tax doesn’t have to be taxing”, or so HMRC’s strapline goes.  However, it has emerged that self-assessment tax is more than taxing, it’s a bloody nightmare for the self-employed and anyone else involved in the whole spirit-demolishing process.

The 14,000 page online form with it’s accompanying guidance notes, recently voted most boring publication in existence since J.P. Thirlwell’s 1978 partwork “Relative tensile strength of galvanised steel under stress when used in suspension bridge construction in countries regularly experiencing extreme weather conditions: volume 4”, has never been filled in completely accurately by anyone, ever.

A statement from HMRC, which appears to confirm recent findings, admits that even the team that devised the form got bored halfway through and started making bits up.  “No one knows which receipts to claim VAT back for, or how to work out the depreciation in value of their stapler.  Clients are advised to make a wild guess, but without taking the piss too much.”

The deadline for submitting your tax return for the period April 2017 to April 2018 is looming on the horizon like the flesh-incinerating pyroclastic flow from a volcano you were warned about months ago, so if you get to work now, hopefully 31st January 2019 will come and go in a sweet haze of self-satisfied relief.

Renewing wedding vows most popular alternative to divorce

A new study from the University of Tewkesbury has revealed that many couples who are thinking about getting divorced are opting to renew their wedding vows instead.  With lengthy court proceedings and the subsequent fight over an estate, possessions, children and pets sometimes running into tens of thousands of pounds, a simple but beautiful ceremony with close friends and family is a lot cheaper.

Merv, 50, has recently renewed his vows with wife Sarah.  “Our marriage had become a featureless landscape of unfulfilled dreams. Apart from when I broke my arm in April, I hadn’t seen Sarah laugh for years.  We did consider divorce but the thought of trying to divvy up the Royal Doulton was too much to bear.  So we went for the romantic option instead, to try and re-introduce the spark we used to have.”

“We renewed our vows last month, after 20 years of marriage, and went on our 2nd honeymoon to Bermuda”, smiles Sarah, 48.  “It was all very nice, but more importantly, it’s stopped my mother hinting that me and Merv should throw in the towel.  It was worth it to see the disappointed look on her face.”

British High Street to look like a zombie apocalypse by 2025

Experts from the world of retail are predicting the total collapse of the traditional High Street by the year 2025, it has emerged.  With HMV being the latest casualty of the current economic downturn, yet shops like W H Smith and Jane Norman still inexplicably trading, the end of shopping as a pleasurable experience has already begun.

With the surge in recent years of online shopping, retail outlets as we know them are to become surplus to requirements.  Once-bustling streets across the UK and beyond will turn into something like a scene from 28 Days Later, or that really depressing one with Viggo Mortenson; all boarded-up wastelands where only rodents and cockroaches can thrive.

According to experts the advent of online shopping will have serious consequences for the human anatomy.  Over the next few millennia legs will probably evolve entirely out of existence, which is particularly bad news for footware retailers.   A kind of motorised trolley with a voice-activated tablet attached on an arm is already in development for house-bound humans to trundle around their homes on.  Goods will be delivered directly to people’s homes by van or drone.

Dave McReady is an early adopter of the new online shopping experience.  “I may have developed what basically amounts to bedsores by not shifting my lazy arse from my sofa this past 2 months, but I’ve bought my groceries, held business meetings over Skype, and watched a ton of porn without having to walk into Blockbuster Video to buy it like I used to in the 90’s.  I’ve even got myself a mail-order bride from Thailand, she’s arriving in a couple of weeks.  Will I be taking her to a fancy restaurant?  No need, I’ve got a Deliveroo account.”

Our interview is cut short by a frantic beeping sound from  Dave’s tablet.  “Sorry, I need to sort this out.  Looks like a pigeon’s got into my Drone Port again.  Alexa: activate bird scarer and disinfectant!”

Pub crawls ‘shite’

New evidence suggests that pub crawls are not in the least bit fun and are, in fact, shite.

The editorial team at The Bluelands Gazette travelled to a typical English town in order to full immerse ourselves in the fine art of this popular tradition and spoke to a number of fellow drinkers on the way.

Ryan, 30, is a committed drinker who dislikes limiting himself to just one watering hole in any given evening.  “Why sit in one nice pub to drink when you can drag your mates round loads of them?” he points out. “We get a cab into town every Saturday night at about 7 and start with a couple of pints in The Red Lion.  Then we nip next door to the King’s Head for another pint.  We then visit The Fleece and Firkin, The Lamb and Flag, The Green Man, O’Malleys, and then have a couple of whisky chasers at The Fork in the Road.  By the time we get kicked out of The Fork in the Road for starting a fight we’re 50 quid down each and we smell of pickled onion crisps. It’s what Saturday night are made for.  Although we have been barred from The Fork now, to be fair.”

However Tommo, 33, is less keen.  “The first pub is fine. You get a table early doors, take off your coat, scarf and gloves, and settle in.  Then before you’ve finished your first drink the others are urging you to drink up.  So you gulp the last few mouthfuls while they’re putting their coats on and edging toward the door. You traipse in the freezing cold to the next pub but there’s nowhere to sit, so you stand at the bar with your coat, scarf and gloves on the floor.  This happens another 6 times during the evening.  By the end your coat has been trodden on so much you look like a tramp. Why couldn’t we just stay in the first pub?”

On our pub crawl The Gazette lost 3 gloves and a laptop between us, and someone chucked a kebab at Allie.  We can confirm that pub crawls are shite.

Xbox develops new game where players negotiate new Brexit deal, with government secretly analysing gamers’ tactics

A new computer game has hit the shops this week, later than planned, but just in time for late Christmas present buyers.  The object of the game is for players to negotiate a new deal for Britain’s exit from the European Union.  A number of levels must be passed on the way, in increasing complexity, with players building up their draft agreement as they go.  One of the final levels is the Irish Backstop, which promises to be ‘the ultimate challenge that only the boldest can conquer’, according to the game’s press release.

Game designers Del Petitt, Nate Karling and Mikey Leonard, reveal that they were approached by the British government to develop the game back in January.  “Our meetings with the Brits showed us that the whole negotiating process has been a total shambles.  They are hoping that there will some hidden genius out there who can come up with a brilliant new Brexit agreement”, explains Karling. “We’ve built in a surveillance app that Theresa May can log into to observe what the most successful gamers are up to”, adds Petitt. “Sounds like she needs all the help she can get.”

Despite the potential market for a game about British politics being seemingly limited, it is expected that the new game, called BreXbox: Mortal Politix, is expected to outsell Call of Duty: Black Ops.  “It’ll be a bumper few months for Microsoft’s UK gaming market”, says Karling. “Every Brit is going to think they can do better than Theresa May. And they probably will.”

TfL’s new ‘panic free’ apocalypse alarm hailed a success

Passengers waiting on the Victoria line platform at London’s Brixton Station today were soothed this morning, as Transport for London tested its’ new ‘panic-free’ apocalypse alarm for the first time.

Following mounting concern that loud, shrill alarms of the kind used in most building fire alarm systems cause panic and disorientation, TfL has pioneered a new form of ‘voice alarm’.

This new alarm features a suave and authoritative male voice instructing the public in Received Pronunciation that there has been an emergency and they are to remain calm.  Faced with such instruction, the public seemed inclined to obey, even when the actual message read out ought to have been genuinely harrowing.

Passenger Ray Banks, who left the station in a zen-like state, clearly could not remember the message that he had just heard.  When asked, he said “Something about being calm. So very calm. Such a nice man.” For the benefit of Gazette readers, the full script is below:

“Ladies and gentlemen, due to a pre-emptive nuclear strike, the atmosphere outside this station and across the capital has turned to acid. In approximately 6 minutes, radioactive death gas will seep through the bedrock to platform level, slowly and agonisingly melting you from the inside out.  Please evacuate the station calmly.

You will be reassured to learn that your corpses will be harvested by robots and recycled into biofuel to power the heat lamps necessary to sustain your lizard overlords in the absence of our now shrouded sun.

We would therefore ask you to refrain from flailing in agony during your slow, hideous deaths, as leakage will reduce energy efficiency by up to 3%. Thank you for your co-operation in this matter, and for remaining calm.

There is a good service on the Piccadilly line.”

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