The VAT men had been hounding an unusual customer at West Dean, near Chichester – an eight-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Joanna.
She belonged to John and Diana Ruffell, who applied for VAT registration for their business dealing in agricultural machinery spares.
‘We got our VAT registration number very quickly, but then came a document made out in the name of my husband and Joanna Margaret. My second name is Margaret,’ said Diana, ‘but how they came up with our dog’s name mystifies me.’
She and her husband thought it was a great joke at first and wrote a humorous letter to the VAT men at Worthing. But they continued to send incorrect documents and ended up in the doghouse.