Date: 2 Dec 2010
Category: Points of View

When the VAT rate goes up to 20% in January 2011, it will have risen exactly 100% from when it was first introduced. That’s right … value added tax (what a ridiculous name … where is the added value?) was introduced into everybody’s lives (by Ted Heath and his cronies in 1973) at what now appears an absolute bargain rate of 10%! If the thought of paying another twenty pounds onto something only worth £100 doesn’t upset you, then perhaps the near certainty that in the near future this tax will also be added to existing zero rated items like FOOD, may get you stirred. However, when you think about it, is VAT any more unfair than any other type of tax? The answer, of course, is … it depends on who is paying it! From the government’s perspective, VAT is an easy option in every respect. It is an extremely difficult tax levy to evade, unlike some income taxes. It is also extremely easy to collect (not to mention cheap), because those... Read more

Date: 23 Nov 2010
Category: Points of View

Picture this scenario: a tax inspector and a taxi driver meet up at Haymarket. It sounds like the start of a joke... except it’s not, and it’s definitely not funny. Let’s meet the two protagonists of this story. First, the Taxi Driver. Much maligned and generally misconstrued as being too street-smart, too opportunistic, and making much more money than they own up to. Whilst the majority of taxi drivers in Edinburgh do not deserve that reputation, the fact is that they are an easy target to bemoan. Furthermore, they are an easy enquiry target for HMRC to pick on! Secondly, the HM Inspector of Taxes. Also much maligned and generally perceived as having undergone a personality bypass. With a popularity rating now only ahead of bankers, the average tax inspector does not expect too many dinner party invitations from ex-school chums now pursuing a self-employed career. It is amazing that tax inspectors always assume taxi drivers get lots of tips; when they themselves... Read more