Question: As a tooth fairy, do I have to pay income tax, and, if so, can I claim as an expense money disbursed to children in return for teeth collected?
Answer: Under the terms of the Income Tax Act 1988 all profit derived from a trade or profession is subject to tax. The profit is calculated as gross income less eligible expenses. So, assuming you are self-employed, the answer to the first part of your question is, yes, if you in fact make a profit. Since the disbursements mentioned are an essential part of the trade there should be no difficulty about claiming them. However, it is not at all clear what income you receive, since your business seems to consist purely of buying second-hand teeth no longer required by their owners. Presumably you resell them to provide income, but this seems to be done in a somewhat secretive way (presumably to prevent your suppliers from selling direct to the same customers). The Inland Revenue will require evidence of your sales, and may carry out an in-depth investigation if your declared profits do not seem to match with your general outgoings and lifestyle. Also, don't forget to pay Class 2 National Insurance Contributions.
Question: My work as a witch involves considerable travel. Can I claim tax relief for the expenses involved in using my broomstick?
Answer: Basically, yes, but the details depend on whether you are employed or self-employed and, in the latter case, whether the vehicle is owned by you as a private individual or by the business. If you are employed then we would normally expect your employer to reimburse you for such expenses (if they don't I'm sure the union will be happy to take up your case - speak to your shop steward), and this would not count as taxable income provided Inland Revenue approved limits are not exceeded. If you are self-employed and own the vehicle as a private individual, then you can claim as a business expense a rate per mile which depends on the type of vehicle and the fuel used. If the vehicle is owned by the business but is used or is available for use privately, then the situation is much more complex (especially if the business is registered for VAT) and detailed professional advice should be sought.
Question: I am a respectable goblin living quietly and causing trouble for nobody (nobody who matters, anyway). I am concerned that the authors Enid Blyton and J.R.R. Tolkien have given us a quite undeserved reputation for evil-doing with their books. Can I sue them, their publishers and/or the distributors of films of their books for defamation?
Answer: Suing the authors could be tricky, since I understand they both died some time ago. However, if you can find out where their ghosts are resident you may be able to commence an action through the Courts Spiritual. The publishers and film distributors should be easier to trace and are more likely to have the means to pay any damages awarded, but they can be expected to resist the action. You would need to prove that the references in the books are likely to be taken to refer to you personally, which will not be easy unless, for example, you can show you live at least part of the time in Middle Earth, and even then you will probably have to use the courts there. Remember that the people who generally make most money from actions of this kind are the lawyers, not the plaintiffs. While I can sympathise with your feelings, I suggest you face up to the reality of our unfair system and just let it all blow over and save your time and money. On second thoughts, why not ask some of the members of our union with supernatural powers to teach them a lesson? It won't help recover your reputation, but it should make you feel better.
Question: I am a computer imp and have to spend most of my time repairing broken Windows, which gets a bit wearing. The owner of my computer is now proposing to dispense with Windows altogether and replace them with some new-fangled things called Li nuts (or something like that - do they grow on a li tree?). Should I look for another employer or is it worth trying to learn how to look after these new nuts? If I decide to look elsewhere, can I claim redundancy pay?
Answer: If you have an enquiring mind and are a fast learner you will probably find Linux (that's the name you meant I think) interesting. Once you know how to operate it you should find you have a lot less repair work to do. Your employer should provide you with appropriate training (if he doesn't, have a word with your shop steward). Whether you can claim redundancy pay or not depends on how long you have been with the same employer - the circumstances of the change would certainly seem to justify it. Have a word with your shop steward, who may want to enquire about other implications of the change anyway.
Note to readers: You can read all about the work of a computer imp on this separate web site: The Trials of the Computer Imp. Use your browser's BACK button to come back here if you look there now.
Question: I was doing a sub-contract job last 24th December, sitting quietly having a doze on top of a Christmas tree (a job I've never done before) when this fat bloke in a red coat suddenly fell down the chimney and smothered me in soot. By the time I had stopped coughing and could see through the clouds of it, he was off again. I couldn't read the number plate on his flying sleigh (I suspect it was illegally not illuminated properly). Should I claim the expenses for cleaning all the muck off my tutu and wings from the householder, from the fairy I was standing in for, or from the hooligan who did the damage (assuming I can trace him)?
Answer: Awful sticky black stuff, soot, isn't it? I suggest you claim from them all.
Please note that taxation and other professional advice given here is addressed to an individual's specific circumstances and may not apply to you. Always take advice from your professional advisor before acting on anything you read here.
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