I am connected
“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” (Peter Clemenza in ‘The Godfather’)
I was uneasy about using social media. Not as uneasy as Tony Soprano was about his first appointment with Dr Melfi, but uneasy.
My father was a man of few words. He spent most of my formative years smoking his pipe behind a copy of the Pink ‘Un. From time to time he would lower the paper, fold it carefully and then say something pithy, like “Brenda, it’s either nowt or summat.” My mother Brenda’s idea of therapy was a pot of strong tea and a plate of warm fat rascals. Even now, in times of stress I reach for the Tetley’s which I drink from my Gaffer mug.
All this meant that I was not really culturally suited to tweeting. But Jose, my marketing capo, thinks Twitter is the dog’s boll***s. This means that I’ve been tweeting under threat of concrete shoes (virtual ones, of course) since around the middle of 2012. I’ve even been on a course to learn how to become a member of the Twitter Mob. The course wasn’t an overwhelmingly positive experience as you can see from what I wrote about it here.
I can’t believe that it was as long ago as October 2012 when I promised to report back on my assault on the Twittersphere. A bit late perhaps, but no omertà for me, so here goes.
I started tentatively. It was like the first day at school – I just sidled in trying not to bring attention to myself. My first tweet was the equivalent of a whispered “Hello, can I just stand in the corner and listen for a bit?”
Now I have over 700 followers. Not Stephen Fry I know, but still astonishing that over 700 people are interested in the abbreviated mumblings of a tax nerd obsessed with food, poetry and tennis. I’ve only been at it for three and a half years. If it continues at this rate, I’ll have 1,500 followers by 2020. Watch out Kim Kardashian, I’ll be bringing out the VATmoji app soon.
While we’re on the subject of the Mafia, remember that Al Capone was finally caught and put behind bars for tax evasion. According to the IRS:
‘The indirect results of the Capone prosecution were most beneficial. Many delinquent taxpayers, including those engaged in legitimate business, as well as individuals in illegal activities, immediately filed delinquent returns at the office of the Collector of Internal Revenue as the result of the Chicago drive.
It is worthy of note that an increase of $1,136,588 in the collections from delinquent returns in 1931 over 1930, was reported by the Collector of Internal Revenue for the Chicago District. This sum was more than double the amount collected from that source in the preceding year.’
Perhaps this is where the idea for HMRC’s ‘naming and shaming’ campaign came from. After all, as it says in Ecclesiastes ‘there is nothing new under the sun.’
Next month I’m going talk about the introduction of the 3% additional rate of SDLT on the purchase of certain residential properties from 1 April. I’ve got lots to say about this as you can imagine (and I think Jose has a little something up his sleeve for next month too). Sign up now so you don’t miss it.
When I started tweeting I was just an empty suit. Now I’m a made member of Twitter but singing like a canary.
PS If you want to follow me on Twitter please click the button below.
Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT