A wages inspector calls

Nasty little man he was, clipped moustache, beady little eyes, a ferret face and a belief that every business in the country was on the fiddle. I always find it difficult dealing with men like Mr Brown.

He locked himself in a room in the hotel for several hours, before emerging with the news that we owed the Inland Revenue 2146. Somewhat abashed I gingerly inquired what this was for. There was a three part answer

  • part time staff, children from the village, each earning a maximum of 15 per week, had not filled  in the proper forms. Therefore we were liable to pay full tax and insurance on their earnings
  • we had got a self employed chef in to cover when we were away for a week. It was perfectly legal, an invoice had been rendered by the company that the girl ran, for the work. And her company was registered with her local tax office, and paid all its taxes
  • we had employed an Australian girl, through a government sponsored scheme to work for three months. Again it was legal and above board - but I had taken one short cut, although we had paid National Insurance, we had not deducted tax, as the employee would and could have legally claimed it back

Well a great to do resulted. Mr Brown reappeared at regular intervals to re-examine our books. Although he could find no more to pin on me, he kept trying. And one by one we picked off the constituents of his bill.

  • the problem with the village kids who did part time work was solved by getting "P" something-or-other forms signed by each
  • the problem of the agency chef was more protracted. I refused to accept that we ought to pay national insurance contributions for any person who ran a separate business and legally invoiced us. Think of the consequences if you had to check out the plumber, electrician, fridge repair man, tree surgeon, or any of a multitude of people that are needed in the running of a hotel.Eventually Mr Brown realised he was on a sticky wicket with this one, and after days of raised blood pressure and arguments, he backed down and withdrew this part of his bill
  • that just left the Australian. To solve this one, I had to indulge in the perfectly pointless exercise of paying 146 to the government, sending a form to the girl in Australia re-claiming the money and appointing me her UK agent. Then 6 weeks later I got a cheque for 146 back from the government

So weeks later, I had established that I owed the Inland Revenue nothing. Mr Browns weeks of harassment had been in vain. The whole exercise by him had cost the country hundreds of pounds quite needlessly. At this point I penned a complaint to his superiors, and the following week a senior inspector visited me to apologise for Mr Brown's excesses. I suppose the apology went some way to mollify me, but I had spent a weeks work on sorting out the whole thing, and there is no compensation for that.


                            And if you want to stay in a nice hotel by the sea in Cornwall, Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall

                                                                                                       Corisande Manor Hotel, Newquay, Cornwall

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