Category Archives: politics

More taxing stuff


My ‘friend’ Longrider has been sounding off again ripping apart my ‘logical fallacies’ in the recent posts I published about tax. You can read his latest here.

Normally I would comment on his article at his place, but as he blocks me from commenting I reluctantly have to respond here.

The thrust of his argument is twofold. Firstly he continues to insist that the self employed shouldn’t pay the same NIC for unequal benefits. It might surprise him to know that I agree with him. However, the fact is that even after the proposed NI increases, the self employed will still be paying less than employed.

It is sensible that the government has delayed the changes until later in the year. In the summer the House will examine benefits and it will be made clear how the benefits the self employed enjoy have been improved to bring them closer – not equal but closer – to those given to the employed.

Secondly, he regards all taxation as theft. This is patent nonsense. He sites the waste of government as his justification for this stance. Again he may surprised that I agree with him that much government spending is wasteful and shameful, but that is not the real issue. There has to be collective responsibilty for the operation of a civilised society.

He rightly points out the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. As a chartered accountant I am well aware of the difference. Avoidance is perfectly legal and a thorough knowledge of tax legislation should always be used to ensure each person or organisation pays the proper amounts required by law and no more.

The morality and fairness is irrelevant when one is filling a tax return, as I do every year. Several of them, in fact! However, it is proper to consider such issues when framing the laws that govern what level of tax is appropriate.

I am criticised for citing large companies who pay little or no UK tax on their profits. They do this by setting up complex corporate structures to artificially move profits to tax shelters, thereby paying little tax in countries when their profits are generated. There are laws – too lax in my view – that make such practices illegal in the UK.

And are such schemes immoral? Well it’s answer that depends on which side of the fence you’re sitting, isn’t it?

So let’s have a direct quote from the self appointed expert. He’s fond of quotes so how about this one from him?

“So, to summarise, there is no morality in taxation; merely theft”

Right on the first, but the second is ‘a logical fallacy’ and ‘cockwaffle’

Feel free to comment because I don’t censor you the way you censor me…

Avoiding corporation tax


There’s been a lot of hot air spouted this week about tax and the self employed, but what about the big boys? You know, the big corporations who make billions and can afford to pay clever accountants and lawyers the rest of us can’t even dream about instructing…

Here’s a round up of what’s going on – and it’s by no means exhaustive :

Caffe Nero : UK sales £274 million CT nil
Vodafone : UK sales £2.7 billion CT nil
Gap : UK sales £426 million CT nil
Waterstones : UK sales £395 million CT nil
EE : UK sales £6.3 billion CT nil

And there is a whole list of other big companies who pay some CT but nowhere near anything proportionate to their sales or real profits. Companies like Apple, Boots, Starbucks, Vision Express…

The list goes on and on, so maybe it would help defuse the row over the taxation of the self employed if the Chancellor was seen to do something about fairness in taxing the big boys as well as the little man?

Fairness shouldn’t be selective…

You’re NICked…


First of all let me declare an interest : I spent the best part of the last 20 years of my working life as a self employed contractor in the IT industry. I’m also a chartered accountant so I was particularly interested in what the Chancellor had to say yesterday about National Insurance contributions.

There’s been a lot of nonsense spouted by various self employed people over yesterday’s announcement, not least of all by one particular blogger – whose blog I’m banned from accessing – that I read this morning (working well, that ban, isn’t it?) who simply doesn’t seem to understand the situation at all, frankly. However, in the interests of fairness, you can read his slant on all this here even if I’m not allowed to! (sic.)

What the Chancellor has done is to abolish Class 2 NICs and incorporate that saving into the Class 4 NIC. The Class 4 NIC has then been increased by 1% this year and a further 1% next year.

The bleat from the people who don’t like this seems to revolve around around their employment rights. The self employed have no employment rights, so the argument is irrelevant. The government provide the NHS and a state pension in return for NI. Here’s an important point : The State Pension has been changed so that self employed people now have the same pension rights as employees. They also have the same access to the NHS, so why should they pay less?

Even after these changes, the self employed still pay a lower NI contribution that employees whilst getting the same access to the NHS and the same pension rights. Employees pay 12% compared to the current Class 4 rate of 9%. Over £43,000 p.a. everyone pays 2%.

The net effect of the changes is that self employed people earning under £28,000 per annum will pay less NI. From £28,000 to £43,000 they will pay the same. Over £43,000 they will pay more.

This seems fair to me. Maternity rights, sick pay and paid holidays are not the responsibility of the government. When I worked as a self employed contractor, I earned more than I would have done as an employee. This was precisely because I had to earn enough to cover unpaid holidays, sickness, gaps between contracts and the like.

There is a class of people in this country and others who believe that things should be given to them as a right and that they shouldn’t have to contribute in order to get them. My fellow blogger’s rant calling the government ‘thieving scum’ and the taxman a ‘blood sucking leech’ shows a fundamentally bad attitude and is typical of the ‘something for nothing’ mentality. I won’t bother to argue the case with him because that would be like trying to teach a pig to sing.

The case for this change is clear. It’s about fairness. If you want the same rights, then you should pay the same contributions towards them. And, at the end of the day, nobody forces you to become self employed. It’s a choice for you as it was for me and I fail to see why there should be a financial incentive funded by employed people for you to do so…

Blondeman rides again!

What can we say about Heseltine’s appalling stance against Brexit in the Lords?

Well, here’s a bit of Spitting Image made when he wanted to become the next PM – gawd help us! It really says it all about his attitude towards the ordinary voter!

May did the sensible thing and ignominiously sacked him from his cushy little advisory jobs with the Tories. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

It really is time the Lords was replaced with an elected Senate. I propose 400 members elected every 4 years with 200 elected at a time and two years spacing between elections. The changing composition might then actually reflect some semblance of public opinion? Well, I can hope so anyway!

One Lord down, only 799 more of the decrepit buggers to go. Bring it on…

Our ignoble Lords

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Today there’s yet another attempt by the House of Lords to frustrate the will of the majority of the electorate – and this time it’s doing so by putting the rights of foreigners in the UK above it’s own citizens.

Already we’ve seen attempts in the Lords to handcuff the Prime Minister in her negotiations with the Fourth Reich. Earlier, peers voted by 299 to 136 against an amendment to the Brexit Bill demanding the UK retains membership of the European single market. Very sensible in my view. You can’t negotiate with constraints publicised to your opponents.

Today they’re expected to back a Labour amendment that would guarantee the rights of EU nationals who are already living in the UK to remain after Brexit. This is despite a clear undertaking by the government that they’ll get these rights anyway provided the same rights are offered to our own citizens living in the EU. This is fair and equitable and as it should be, so where’s the problem?

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has written to every peer saying that the Government would treat EU citizens living in Britain with “utmost respect” but warned that it could harm the interests of UK nationals living in Europe if Britain offered a “unilateral” pledge.

“They could end up facing two years of uncertainty if any urgency to resolve their status were removed by the UK making a one-sided guarantee,” she wrote.

I don’t particularly like or trust Amber Rudd, but on this issue she is quite right. This isn’t about the rights of UK or EU citizens, it’s about the Lords trying to scupper Brexit.

It’s despicable that they criticise the government for using EU citizens rights as a ‘bargaining chip’ when they’re doing exactly the same with UK citizens. Not only that, but they’re putting the EU before their own countrymen. In my book, that’s treason…