How lovely to see that my piece is now an official report

Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that many people want to pay “more tax” to clear the national debt or fund public services has been undermined by official figures.

Figures disclosed by the Government show that just 15 taxpayers made financial gifts worth less than £200,000 to the Government over the past two years.

The Labour leader said in 2015 that “many well-off people I speak to, in Islington and around the country, would be quite happy to pay more tax to fund better public services or to pay down our debts”.

He added that “opinion polls bear this out – better off people are no less likely to support higher taxes”.

Typically cash which is gifted or bequeathed to the Government is channelled through the Government’s Debt Management Office.

The Debt Management Office said that £180,393 in 2016/17 and £14,558 in 2015/16 was made in these voluntary payments.

Most of this came from a single bequest of £177,700 in the last financial year. The other donated or bequeathed by the other 14 people were for relatively trivial sums. Someone gave 1p, another gave 3p and a third person handed over £1.84 to the Government.

11 years back I did a piece for The Times which pointed out that only 5 people had in fact volunteered to pay more tax. Thus, given what people do rather than what they say, there was only a marginal movement for more tax to be paid.

This was, I am really pretty sure, the first mention of this point.

LAST YEAR there were five people in Britain who thought that their taxes were too low. No, this isn’t the number of people who have called for higher taxes. Rather, it is those who were so convinced of the righteousness of state spending that they voluntarily sent extra money to the Treasury.

When I wrote that there were no official figures. Took the Treasury a month or so to round up the numbers, they just weren’t collated as a matter of course. What fun that they do now both collate and release them?

36 comments on “How lovely to see that my piece is now an official report

  1. What a surprise to find that people would prefer to leave money to their children instead of the state.
    I expect all these gift givers were either taking the mick or childless.
    That said, if you die intestate with no discernible relatives your estate goes to the crown anyway, so far as I know. So the figures seem quite low really.

  2. I assume that Jeremy’s friends who are willing to pay more tax are state employees who expect to recoup the money with a salary increase.

  3. Slightly O/T, but how are gifts to fake charities holding up? Are there as many chuggers in Islington as there used to be?

  4. Again slightly O/T, I see the BBC has another of their (deliberately?) misleading headlines: “NHS call for equality over private hospitals’ tax break” .

    It’s only once you start reading that you learn that said tax break is because they are a charity.

    Anyway, back on topic. Virtue is not conditional, anyone who claims they would be happy to pay more tax if everyone else was made to should be told to fuck off.

  5. It always comes back to the same thing with leftist: nothing that they advocate would happen if people were not forced to.

  6. Rich people do however voluntarily absent ( that word again ) themselves from receiving the gifts of the State e.g. when they buy private education or health care.
    We can harness this behavioural trait to reduce State spending which is mainly incident on the richies. Not tax more.

  7. ” Virtue is not conditional, anyone who claims they would be happy to pay more tax if everyone else was made to should be told to fuck off.”

    Exactly, theres nothing virtuous in it. I regularly tell people they can send a cheque off the the treasury and stipulate where it will be spent, the standard reply is ‘oh but it will make no difference is only I do it.’

    These people also complain about the cost of beer, petrol and energy……..

    Which the driving force of rising price is…….TAX.

  8. People do donate to subdivisions of the state, in the form of their local NHS trusts. No idea how much is given, but it’s unlikely to be much.

  9. I suspect Mr. Corbyn is hearing a lot of virtue signalling from people who expect someone else to keep taxes low.

  10. IN actual fact, there are millions of people who want others to pay more tax. That’s why Corbyn’s cuntish party garners so many votes.

  11. The problem is that Mr McDonnell hasn’t been Chancellor yet. When he ‘asks’ people, nicely, to pay a little bit more, they will fall over themselves to oblige.

  12. Paying additional voluntary tax to reduce the national debt would be tantamount to hanging baubles on the magic money tree!

  13. I keep saying, why don’t the Tories institute a formal voluntary tax system? A tax code that you can write to HMRC to ask for, that will take a far higher % of your income (and more NI, CGT and IHT etc) than the standard one that applies to everyone involuntarily. That would result in a nice hefty bill at the end of the tax year after they’d taken into account the standard PAYE payments made by the employer.

    Then whenever someone says ‘But people want to pay higher taxes’ point at it and say ‘Go ahead!’

  14. In the days I was far more active, I used to canvass for a political party. When doorstepping, the question of taxation often arose. To those who said that taxes weren’t high enough, I made the point that they could make a voluntary donation. There was invariably one of 2 replies, “I’m not rich, the rich should pay”(rich=better off than me) and “But everyone should pay!” The politics of envy is nationally endemic, and especially institutionalised in the Labour Party.

  15. @BiND

    “Again slightly O/T, I see the BBC has another of their (deliberately?) misleading headlines: “NHS call for equality over private hospitals’ tax break” .

    The NHS pays tax?

  16. I submitted my self assessment tax return yesterday. HMRC are going to send me a nice little cheque refunding all the income tax I’ve paid last year. So, I have avoided paying income tax. Clearly, the HMRC are operating a tax avoidance scheme and must be shut down!!!

  17. Jim – you mean like the Queen has with her tax rate, reduced to 75% for a few years in order to deal with repairs and upgrades?

  18. I agree with Kevin Lohse – I’ve had the same said to me. And to Jim, yes, a voluntary hypothecated additional tax payment option would be a great idea.

    The problem with an income tax reduction strategy as a manifesto commitment is that for many people they would see it as giving more to the rich and it isn’t a vote-winner, at least, not in the quantities necessary to change an election result. For people paying very little tax, the benefits are huge.

    My additional suggestion is that if taxes go up, they should go up for all bands, and vice versa. At the moment, the non-tax-payers don’t have skin in the game.

  19. “My additional suggestion is that if taxes go up, they should go up for all bands, and vice versa. At the moment, the non-tax-payers don’t have skin in the game.”

    And that is how the Swiss system of the “Steuerfuss” works.

    The Canton decides on how “basic tax” is calculated, and then applies a multiplier (“Steuerfuss”) to it. This multiplier can go up and down. Plus, each municipality decides (by public vote) what its multiplier can be.

    It’s easy to change the multiplier, harder to change the manner in which “basic tax” is calculated. So they also fiddle with what you can/can’t deduct at cantonal level, which then cascades down to municipality level.

  20. @john square

    Yes, they do pay pay business rates on some facilities.

    Of course they pay their tax with tax, so it’s not really the same thing, but when rates move differently to the NHS budget I suppose it can have a minor impact.

    The complaint against charitable medical facilities is kind of revealing as to the underlying motivation however.

  21. Yes, the most popular tax is one other people have to pay; the least popular is one you have to pay.

    My particular favourite is when people frequently state they want people to pay more tax, and then blow their top when they have to pay Stamp Duty. A specific tax, a large amount, completely visible to them. Suddenly “paying more tax” is less attractive.

  22. Andrew M,

    It’s because ‘it hurts the worst off’…..

    I mean how much do people think ‘the rich’ can pay? Even if you believed in zero displacement you could only really think you could squeeze a few more percent out of them and the for what?

    Wasting that money on ‘free’ tuition at university instead of paying for something more useful?

    I think there is zero consideration about costs and value here,

  23. abacab,
    That seems a little like council tax, the relative rate of each band is fixed, the council sets a tax for band D and all other bands are set relative to that.

  24. “Virtue is not conditional, anyone who claims they would be happy to pay more tax if everyone else was made to should be told to fuck off”

    What these people really mean when they say they would be happy to pay more tax is actually that they would be happy to live in a higher tax regime (presumably one where other people pay more than they do). A completely different thing altogether.

    I think it was the Norwegian government that recently launched a voluntary tax like the one being discussed here. Predictably it hasn’t collected much!

  25. I put a petition on HMG website to.make voluntary extra tax payments easy.
    Guess how many signed it ?

  26. Actually, I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more, if I could be sure it was spent on something sensible, instead of something diametrically opposed to my interests. For instance, a penny on the basic rate to repatriate all those parasitic RoPpers who seem to infest the news these days.

  27. ‘What fun that they do now both collate and release them?’

    They aren’t supposed to be having fun, they are supposed to be working.
    If there isn’t sufficient work to keep them busy then that dept. should be closed and the employees sacked then the taxpayers wouldn’t need to give AVCs to keep the lights on.

  28. Actually, I wouldn’t mind paying a little bit more, if I could be sure it was spent on something sensible, instead of something diametrically opposed to my interests.

    If tax was “spent sensibly” we wouldn’t need to pay more – in fact you could probably knock 10p in the pound off the basic rate.

  29. “VAT is another good one. Listen to the howls of protest whenever an increase is suggested.”

    The thing about VAT is that the poorest hardly pay it. Food is VAT free except when eating in restaurants and energy costs are 5%, and come 2019 can be zero rated again.

    VAT hit the middle class most, hence the howls, especially from the Islington set.

  30. @ Excavator Man
    Agreed.
    And another penny so that *genuine* refugees got the same rate of benefits as UK citizens until they were permitted to look for work.

  31. @ BiND
    Islington screams about VAT because they claim it hits the poor. It’s terrible the bottom decile spends over 115% of their income on VAT-rated goods and services.

  32. “The thing about VAT is that the poorest hardly pay it.”

    Up to a point. I believe that it has been observed on many an occasion, that the poorest have a distressing tendency to satiate their base desires with occasional pint of beer, alongside a fag or two, and fundamentally lack the self discipline to enjoy a wheatgrass and carrot smoothie.

    In which case, they’re paying VAT levied on a price that has already been increased by alcohol or tobacco duty.

  33. Fair point, but tax policy shouldn’t be based on the actions of the feckless and terminally stupid. Those serious less well off people who it does affect can be helped in other ways.

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