The Social Round

Bird next to bird food container
Image credit

‘‘I might have known,” said Eeyore. “After all, one can’t complain. I have my friends. Somebody spoke to me only yesterday. And was it last week or the week before that Rabbit bumped into me and said “Bother!” The Social Round.  Always something going on.” (A. A. Milne, ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’)

Relatively seasoned blogger as I now am (36 and counting!), I have been fighting shy of ‘social networking’ for a long time but as it’s now a Big Thing I decided I should try to get to grips with it.  So, to avoid having to start tweeting straight away (obviously) and not having a clue what to say (obviously), I decided to go on a course (obviously?).  Unable to find a course on Social Networking for Dummies, I chose ‘An introduction to social networking for business’ run by Ecademy.

On the day, the first exercise was to choose a word – yes, just one word – to describe what your business offered to your ‘customers’. Being limited to one word is the ultimate torture for a lawyer.  If I hadn’t been right at the front and surrounded by ‘marketeers’ (whatever they are, they’re definitely not as interesting as D’Artagnan et al.) fiddling about on their iPads, I would have bolted for the door.

Reminds me of the old joke:

‘How do you confuse an [insert non-stereotyped, non-country-specific, male personage here]?’

‘Put two shovels against a wall and ask him to take his pick’.

When I finally returned to my office I was utterly exhausted by all that thinking outside the box.  Give me a stretch in a tax gulag any day.

It must have had some kind of effect though, as shortly afterwards I dipped my toe in the virtual water by adding a post to the discussion on VAT on bird seed in the VAT Thought Leaders Group on LinkedIn:

‘Can anyone shed any light on why HMRC states in Notice 701/15 at paragraph 8.4 that ‘Special mixes of foods for wild bird foods are zero-rated provided they are not packaged for retail sale’?
They do not appear to fall into Items 2 or 3 of Schedule 8, Group 1 and arguably fall into the second clause of Excepted item 6.

Is it simply that these are animal feeding stuffs and are neither pet food nor ‘packaged’? Would it then follow that seeds that lead to plants that wild birds eat should also be zero-rated?’

Ann Humphrey:

‘I think it’s HMRC’s attempt to précis Excepted Item 6:

It seems to me that its a question of whether the seed is food for poultry or game rather than simply whether its packaged.  After all most game birds are wild and I don’t think they eat different seeds to other birds!’

Am I taking Twitter too literally?

Or perhaps that wasn’t a tweet after all.  Bother!

Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT

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