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Salt, windows, beards, playing cards: they’ve all been taxed at one point.
Even a ‘cowardice tax’, or scutage, was levied against the subjects of Henry I who decided that they didn’t quite fancy fighting in any of his wars (Pay As You Shirk?).
But now’s the time to let the government know what you’d like to tax. Or not tax.
It is seeking views on what taxpayers would like to see in the Budget which is due to take place on Wednesday 8 July. It ‘welcomes original and innovative’ ideas, although any submission must be made before next Friday (5 June).
Personally, I’d like to see a levy imposed on folk that walk and text at the same time. My definition of ‘text’ would be wide: checking Twitter and uploading pictures of their morning coffee to Facebook would be a ‘taxable event’. If that’s not a goer, these pedestrians should, at the very least, be obliged to wear a (tax-deductable?) one metre tall yellow hat so that you can see them coming. You heard it here first.
On a more serious note, I can’t help thinking that a simplification of the tax system would be helpful.
The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) reports that in 2009 the UK tax code exceeded that of India and, at 11,520 pages, was the longest in the world.
Six years later, I doubt that it now stands at, say, 11,521 pages—and no, I am not volunteering to count them—despite the creation of the OTS in 2010.
One of the biggest challenges is that the OTS can only look at existing law and not any planned law: closing the stable door after the tax horse has bolted…
Would your clients (individuals or businesses) like to know that they could submit their views to the Government on its budget plans? What would they propose and why? (Further tax simplification?) This could be a great conversation starter for you with your clients this week and, as well as a response from them opening up some valuable insight into your clients’ painpoints, kudos to you for introducing the opportunity to them.
So there you go. Time to discuss with your clients how they could influence the way in which their tax is spent in six weeks time?
Here’s some material to help you on your way:
If it’s all too much to participate in the government survey, why not let us have your thoughts below? We always enjoy hearing from you.
And here's the first Budget of 2015:
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