back to article BOFH: But we think the UK tax authorities would be VERY interested in how we used COVID support packages

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns "We'd just like some explanations of this spending," the Head Beancounter says, slapping a wadge of printouts onto my desk. "Uh, let's see. Laptops... some wireless mice and keyboards, monitors, etc. Yep, COVID things." "Yes, you say it's a COVID thing but a lot of these purchases are …

  1. John Riddoch

    "Haven't put that claim in yet" - or, possibly, even put in the new staircase either...

    Watch that first step, it's a big one!

    1. not.known@this.address

      The request for the new staircase

      Is in the filing cabinet. In the Basement. Behind the sign saying "Beware of the Leopard". Beside the request for the new Basement lights.

      And the request for a new staircase down to the basement...

      Mine's a pan-galactic gargle-blaster, thank you.

  2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    It's been a while....

    I wonder if they're still writing off the quicklime and carpet rolls as a COVID expense?

    Though I am surprised they didn't take him into the basement..what with the 'cleaning' robot that's still down there.

    On second thoughts, they could have left a window open in the meeting room for 'ventilation'...

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: It's been a while....

      Shame my window (full height) only opens "tilt", there is a lock that does not let me swing it open. The risk is not as bad as it sounds, there is a second glass pane in front of it (though I am unsure if it would hold back heavy objects, say on an office chair that accidentally rolled against it)...

      Nobody is in the office at the moment, so this is sort of moot to contemplate.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: It's been a while....

        @Jow W

        It is as well to be aware that accidental scrathing of armoured glass with say a diamond ring or an item madr of tungsten can compromise the integrity of said glass.

        Check carefully for deep scratches before encouraging anyone to lean on such glass when pointing out objects of interest.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: It's been a while....

          ...and if there aren't any, add some using your tungsten stylus. Bought for the known antiviral properties of tungsten of course.

    2. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: It's been a while....

      Didn't they let that cleaning robot out in the wild, claimed it was a rogue drone and have the police shot it down?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's been a while....

        I think the Police only managed to close down an airport and interview some innocent bystanders - no one was brave enough to go near the actual robot...

        Note: while this is just a guess, it fills in more gaps than the "official" story...

    3. Blofeld's Cat

      Re: It's been a while....

      "... I am surprised they didn't take him into the basement ..."

      Judging by the "faint scream" I suspect he made his own way to the basement - possibly using litho-braking in the process.

      1. Charlie van Becelaere

        Re: It's been a while....

        Upvote for "litho-braking."

    4. Danny 5

      Re: It's been a while....

      That was the first thing that came to mind here as well! Classic BOFH.

  3. Dave K

    "A hint of 'forest fruits' permeates the room as the Head Beancounter's antiperspirant kicks into turbo."

    Outstanding, you owe me a new keyboard for that one!

    1. DJV Silver badge

      ...and another 212 to go with it - just in case...

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Stairwell or Elevator

    it could only end one way

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Stairwell or Elevator


      1. Stumpy

        Re: Stairwell or Elevator

        Yep, it's not the falling that gets them. It's the stopping.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Stairwell or Elevator

          Elevators tend to catastrophically fail upwards, as a poor young lady found out last week.

          Elevator doors on the other hand, may pop open at any time and people tend to walk in from the hallway without looking

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    So now the BOFH has got the head beancounter in his pocket. Fun times ahead!

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

      Re: Sneaky

      Rrrrmmmm no.

      He's a squishy mass of flesh & bone at the bottom of the stairwell.

      You new here?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sneaky

        The auditor had the unfortunate covid related accident. The head beancounter just avoided much unpleasantness thanks to said accident.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Sneaky

          What's the point of killing an auditor? It just means there'll be another one around tomorrow.

          They're like cops. Or cockroaches.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sneaky

            You have to start somewhere.

            And cops and cockroaches both sense when their brethren start to disappear with no obvious explanation.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Sneaky

      bits of him, at any rate. In an envelope....

  6. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

    BOFH and Beancounters cooperating

    I knew this pandemic was serious but not that bad!

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: BOFH and Beancounters cooperating

      Err, is "BOFH" actually Boris Operating From Hillingdon this week?

      They could have built a room with a cinema sized screen and armchairs, each in an isolated viewing area (with a bar) to enable video conferencing. The bar? "That's so that we can wash our hands and tongues in vodka for guaranteed cleanliness to stop spreading COVID when we speak and use our phones" ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        wash tongues in Vodka

        because it helps when speaking the language of the Tory donors and owners.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Special Compliance

    I worked on a system developed for the then Inland Revenue's Special Compliance Office, a group of auditors and investigators who dealt with serious and special cases such as bent tax collectors and people who caught their interest like Octav Botner. Their investigators were seriously impressive people, backed up by a bunch of ex-services personnel whose job was to stand behind the investigators looking Very Big And Scary during interviews. One guy I talked with affected rimless glasses and a black leather trench coat for the Gestapo vibe.

    If you were to remove a tax inspector without leaving a trace you would be lucky if the police turned up first. If the Special Compliance Office arrived instead you would get an auditing that you wouldn't forget for a very long while.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Special Compliance

      I would say the tax inspector left a very visible imprint (though nothing that cannot be cleaned up, I guess).

      Terrible. Accident.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Special Compliance

        Obviously you have to clean that up, because of COVID risks. Can't be too careful.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Special Compliance

          I'm not worried because I'm eating cookies ... Cookies Offer Virus Immunity Daily if you eat 19 .... yummy!

    2. steelpillow Silver badge

      Re: Special Compliance

      The bodyguard were sent up individually in different lifts because that was standard protocol - because COVID. Oddly, those other lifts never made it to the right floor. Maintenance staff had not been able to attend in timely manner - because COVID.

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Special Compliance

      Their investigators were seriously impressive people, backed up by a bunch of ex-services personnel whose job was to stand behind the investigators looking Very Big And Scary during interviews.

      Though of course if you were lucky you got Call-Me-Dave and a few billion written off instead.

    4. perlcat

      Re: Special Compliance

      ...but they didn't remove the auditor without leaving a trace -- the poor, despondent guy typed "seppuku" in his browser tab immediately before the high jump.

  8. Hot Diggity


    The only career with a bleaker life span than a manager of the BOFH.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Auditors...

      I don't think you've met many auditors: as members of the undead, they're notoriously difficult to kill.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Auditors...

        You should read pterry's 'Thief of Time'

        It involves Auditors and death by chocolate-coated-coffee beans.

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: Auditors...

          By "you", I assume you mean "Simon". But in the real world auditors aren't that easily distracted. It's got to be a big enough project with a big enough pay-off – Wirecard, HP's purchase of Autonomy, etc. – for them to be able to invoke the principal-agent problem and get paid not to find anything fishy! ;-)

      2. VerySlowData

        Re: Auditors...

        From Bob Howard's office ? (thanks Charles Stross!)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...

    What Simon and the PFY have done in preparation for the return of the unwashed masses...

    As shitty as some users have been here, taking the monitors and docs out of other people's office, instead of bringing their own monitors and docks home, and causing me problems, there will be pain here... a lot of pain...

  10. chivo243 Silver badge

    Well, If I'd have known

    The cleaner sat on them. He.. um.. farted." I would have a new chair too!

  11. Maverick

    thanks for reminding me of a past life

    Octav Botnar ROFLMAO

  12. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    This one will also mature well and be a delight to read...

    Well done, excellent.

    Now, vere are mein tax auditors und collectors?

  13. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Today's reading

    comes from the epistile of St Roach to the PFYs , chapter 3, verses 14-23

    And lo, the blessed day of anticipation arrived, and yet the day is doubled blessed by the BOFH

    But ye have forgotton the command of THE LORD

    "Lendeth not thy writing implements to thy master on the day of double blessing, for they shallt become foul and unclean"

    But Ye did not listen to the wise words.

    And thus, thy writing implements didst become foul and unclean.

    And yet you pray to THE LORD "Our implements are unclean" while thyselves are to blame for their woeful condition

    You must learneth the true wisdom of THE LORD and obey all his just commands.

    Here endeth the reading

  14. NBCanuck

    The tables have turned

    "Going right back?" the PFY asks, raising an eyebrow. "Any dodgy expense or purchase?"

    "You bet! If there's anything to find, we'll find it."

    It was at this point I knew the Head Bean Counter was off the hook. The auditor? Not so much.

  15. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    So close to the bone

    Over the last year it's been possible to declare almost any expense as due to the pandemic. Though when review things most of this will pale in comparison with some of the bigger wheezes pulled off by companies such as short work.

  16. RyokuMas

    Funny thing...

    A while back (a good while back, pre-pandemic), I was talking to one of my collegues about BOFH, saying how I'd learned a lot from it.

    A few weeks later, these little straps appeared on all the windows above the ground floor, preventing them from opening more than a few inches.

    ... funny, that...

    1. dlc.usa

      IT Education (Re: Funny thing...)

      I like to point newbies to "" when the subject of backup SOPs comes up.

      1. dlc.usa

        Re: IT Education (Funny thing...)

        And I always strongly recommend reading the Reader Comments when I cite any El Reg article.

  17. Deimos

    Deja vu

    Does anybody else feel a connection to the glory days of y2k ?

    I still have such lovely memories of the flow of free kit / toys.

    So much furniture and “sundries” that weren’t y2k compliant.

    Those were the days I never thought to see again.

    1. ShortLegs

      Re: Deja vu

      Ah yes, like replacing the non-Y2K compliant cooling units...

      .... with units that looked suspiciously like a 19" rack mount fridge, complete with a front-opening "maintenance access port."

  18. earl grey

    industrial diamonds are fairly inexpensive

    just look for them for truing up a grinding wheel.

  19. arachnoid2

    Think of all the old stock you could offload

    Because the cleaners have been round with the duster cleaning the pile of sh.........shtock :D

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