A (taxing) tale of two shirts

Listening to Kirsty Young on Desert Island Discs with guest Frank Skinner. He comes across as much more interesting and likable than some of his comedy suggests.

But I couldn’t hold back a bitter splutter of a laugh when he told the story of how much he spent at auction on a shirt that had belonged to Elvis Presley, his great hero. He hardly ever wears it in public, but he once did for a stage performance. And this was a good thing, because it meant he could claim it as a taxable stage expense.


The Inland Revenue have made it quite clear that clergy cannot claim clerical shirts (£30) as an expense of office, on the grounds that it is possible to do the job wearing some other kind of shirt. But it’s essential for Frank Skinner to wear a shirt owned by Elvis (£11,000).

Or maybe it’s a case of one tax rule for millionaire entertainers, and another for people on £23,000 a year. Of course, I should have guessed.

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