Idiot, idiot

The vision of a low-tax Britain that enforces fewer regulations in terms of workers’ rights has been a motivating force for a number of high-profile supporters of Brexit. However, in a letter seen by the Observer, Asscher writes that it is in the interests of both the UK and the remaining 27 EU member states that May’s government is prevented from creating a low-tax “neoliberal” outpost.

In a sign of the complexity of the trade negotiations to come, Asscher writes: “If you and I pay taxes, so should the large enterprises. Let’s fight the race to the bottom for profits taxation together, which threatens to come into existence if it is up to the Conservative UK government.

But a large enterprise is a legal person, not a natural person. And it is only natural persons who can carry the burden of taxation – on the simple grounds that there’s only us around.

The entire idea is thus stupid.

On the business rates rise

Business rates, which date back to 1601, are calculated according to the rental value of the property a company uses.

It leaves businesses with large premises paying huge annual fees, while online retailers that only need small buildings pay relatively low levies.

Yes, that’s the bloody point you fools!

Aren’t we lucky in our tax QCs?

Soapy Joe:

3) as things stand, and applying the reasoning of the Employment Tribunal decision, Uber seems to be making VATable supplies to passengers of transportation services. And those services are standard rated. In practice, this means that, of every £100 charged to an Uber customer, Uber would have a so-called ‘output’ tax liability of £16.67 (being the VAT on such sum net of VAT as, when VAT is added, gives you £100). And it would need to hand that sum over – less any ‘input’ tax – to HMRC;

OK, seems reasonable. Easy test – does Addison Lee pay VAT?

But then there’s this:

(4) output tax is the VAT you charge your customers. And input tax is the tax you are charged by your suppliers. It’s the difference – the tax on the value that you add – that you hand over to HMRC. But does Uber have any input tax? Your employees don’t charge you input tax. Uber might have some external costs on which VAT has been charged – but not many. On the assumption (see (1) and (2) above) that the VAT reality of Uber’s business is that it is engaging drivers and supplying transport services to passengers, the vast majority of its expenditure will be the money it pays to drivers. But (with perhaps a tiny number of exceptions) drivers don’t charge Uber VAT on their fares. Indeed, they are incentivised to earn less than the VAT registration threshold. If they earned more, they would have to hand over 16.67% of their profits to HMRC in VAT;

Err, no. If it is, as a whole, a Vatable supply then as soon as a driver goes above the registration threshold then they must charge it to Uber. It doesn’t come from their “profits”, which is their labour income anyway.

Aren’t we lucky to have a system where a journalist needs to explain this to a tax QC.

There are times when I just don’t understand politicians

A German plan to introduce a motorway tax for foreign cars has earned the wrath of other European Union members who have said they plan to challenge it in court.

The road charging system was approved by the Bundestag last year, but faced stiff opposition from the European commission which has called it discriminatory.

Following an adjustment to the plans agreed in Brussels on Friday the toll is now set to be introduced for foreign-registered cars. Cars registered in Germany will also pay but receive refunds in the form of tax deductions.

There is no problem at all with charging people for a sticker which allows them to drive on the motorways. The Czech Republic does it for example. It’s simply method of charging a toll but as an annual lump sum instead of per trip. Nowt wrong with it at all – it’s sensible even. Those who use a thing should pay for it.

The only problem with this is the idea that Germans should receive specific tax reductions for paying it. If they just lowered tax collection in general by the same amount then there would be no problem at all. So, why are they specifically trying to link a specific tax reduction to this specific road tax? That’s the bit which doesn’t make sense.

What a lovely thing to complain about

Trouble is, lip service doesn’t pay so well. Days after that interview, the recently ejected chancellor began a speaking tour of America. In just a month, it was revealed last week, he raked in £320,400. Osborne made more from five speeches (nearly all to the finance industry, naturally, and putting in what his parliamentary register records as a total of 13 and a half hours’ work)than the average British worker will earn in over 11 years.

So, that’ll be some £130,000 or so of American money that flows into HM Treasury. An appalling outcome we all agree Mr. Chakrabortty.

Good

Philip Hammond will this week announce a raid on job perks enjoyed by millions of middle earners, including health checks, gym memberships and mobile phone contracts.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the Autumn Statement will tighten rules that allow workers to forgo part of their salary in return for certain work benefits.

The move, described as a “stealth tax” by critics, will mean employees at big firms across Britain will be forced to pay hundreds of pounds to continue to receive perks they get through work.

The salary sacrifice schemes. The company provides you with whatever, gym membership say, you don’t pay income tax on it, they don’t pay NI.

It’s a not very sensible distortion in the system and as such should go. Pay the cash and let people buy what they want out of taxed income.

The biggest danger with these sorts of twee policies is the temptation it gives to idiots to add more things to the list of eligible items. Each addition just adding yet more distortion to the system. Gives those who would manage society a field day in “picking winners.”

We know who will be frotting himself senseless over this

Britain’s wealthiest people owe the taxman as much as £1.9billion, the National Audit Office has found in the wake of Theresa May’s pledge to crackdown on tax avoidance.

The spending watchdog said that one in six of Britain’s 6,500 wealthiest individuals have used tax avoidance schemes and admitted that HMRC has found investing whether they are paying the right amount “challenging”.

The use of a tax avoidance scheme does not show that tax is ue. Some forms of tax avoidance do actually work, after all.

Tax avoidance is very bad, very bad indeed

Except, of course, when it’s for luvvies:

The boom has in part been fuelled by the introduction of tax credits for high-end drama TV, shows that cost more than £1m per episode such as Game of Thrones and The Crown, and longer-standing breaks for films that pass a “cultural test” or are a qualifying co-production. These carrots have helped stop big-budget film and TV productions going to cheaper locations, such as eastern Europe, bringing in increased investment and attracting new players like Netflix and Amazon.

HMRC figures show that £340m was paid to 530 claims for film tax relief in the year to the end of June, and £96m for 115 claims relating to high-end TV. Another £45m was paid out relating to video games developed in the UK.

It’s lovely. They get all outraged about footballers and singers putting the money in to get the tax breaks. And then applaud the things made as a result of the tax breaks.

So, Evgeny Morozov is a dickhead then, is he?

Zuckerberg can surely afford this, given how little tax his company is paying: in the UK, its tax filings for 2015 show revenues of £210.7m, on which the company paid just £4.17m of taxes – an effective rate of 2% (itself a 1,000-fold increase on what it paid in 2014). Facebook, however, also managed to generate a tax credit of £11m, which it can use to reduce its future tax burden. The disease of tax avoidance is unlikely to be cured by the Chan Zuckerberg initiative.

Who but a dickhead would compare tax paid to turnover?

Unless we’re talking about Stemcor of course.

Tax incidence!

‘Make property sellers pay stamp duty’

What?

Stamp duty should be paid by the seller of a home rather than the buyer to give a boost to those trying to get on to the property ladder, the Yorkshire Building Society has suggested.

The mortgage lender said that the move would make first-time buyers entirely exempt from the tax burden, saving an average of £3,791 in England and £13,171 in London.

Err, but….

Yorkshire Building Society believes that the reform would increase the number of transactions by 16,000 in the first year, including 6,000 more houses bought by first-time buyers.

This is based on the expectation of a 2 per cent increase in transactions after the overhaul, similar to the effect of the stamp duty holiday in 2009. That was introduced in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis amid the cooling of the property market.

No, who writes the checque changing is not the same as a tax not existing.

Mr McPhillips said there was a risk that those selling would simply increase their asking prices to take account of in the higher stamp duty, but argued that there was “no real incentive” for people to do so. “Yes, you are having to pay the stamp duty on the property you are selling, but it is less than the one you are buying, so in a net change you are better off.”

Facepalm.

Hodge the Dodge still doesn’t get it, does she?

The second device Starbucks used to shift profits out of the UK was to buy all their coffee beans in Switzerland, another low-tax jurisdiction. As we established at a Public Accounts Committee hearing, however, only 30 staff worked there — and the coffee beans never entered Switzerland.
Yet because the coffee was ordered from there, Starbucks outlets in the UK had to pay the Swiss part of the business a 20 per cent mark-up on the original price.
That cleverly knocked another chunk off Starbucks’ UK profits — and further reduced the amount of corporation tax payable in the UK.

It would be illegal if Starbucks didn’t pay a margin to the Swiss coffee bean broker.

Lying hound.

Ahahahahahaha

The #PanamaPapers leak shows how the super-rich and multinationals are actively avoiding paying their fair share of tax, while ordinary people are footing the bill for government spending. Tax havens are at the centre of this scandal, and are fuelling staggering inequality.

We live in a world now where just 62 billionaires have the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet combined – that’s 3.5 billion people. Poor countries lose at least $170 billion every year, because rich individuals and multinational companies hide vast amounts of money in tax havens. This is lost tax revenue that’s desperately needed for vital public services like healthcare and education.

Standard lefty noises from Oxfam. And then at the bottom:

This webpage has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union.

Group of high tax governments supports charity against low tax governments.

We might even call it the EU paying someone to lobby the EU….

Prem Sikka is the lad, isn’t he?

There is a temptation to let the lying dogs sleep. A good example of this is the information provided by whistleblower Hervé Falciani, which showed that HSBC’s Swiss operations might have helped wealthy people to dodge taxes. Only one individual from the Falciani list of some 3,600 potential UK tax evaders has been prosecuted. In January, HMRC quietly abandoned its investigation.

This is evidence that his friends in the PCS should get more money by increasing HMRC’s budget.

Except of course that’s not what really happened, is it?

The leaked HSBC files held the names of 6,800 British individuals and companies. Due to duplication, this involved 3,600 individuals. One thousand were subjected to a full HMRC probe, which yielded £135 million in back-taxes and penalties.
Criminal prosecutions could not be taken on the back of the leaked Swiss files alone, Gauke told MPs, because the Crown Prosecution Service believed that corroborating evidence would be needed for a guilty verdict.
In a statement, HMRC said it has brought in £2 billion in previously unpaid taxes from Switzerland and Liechtenstein, adding that the maximum penalty now for hiding money in tax havens is 200 per cent of the tax evade.

Mike Daisey is still ignorant, isn’t he?

But because they had pulled the Double Irish, the European commission has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over the last 10 years. The EU ordered Apple to pay the taxes with interest at the end of August, a decision whose logic the company refutes.

The EU’s not been deprived of anything. The tax is not an EU tax, the revenue does not go to the EU. And the EU hasn’t ordered Apple to pay anything. It has ordered the Irish government to repay what the US says is illegal state aid.

This is the Green Party’s leading economist

Apple has benefited from both a favourable Irish tax regime and the notorious “double Irish” scheme, exploiting the fact that revenues declared as earned by subsidiaries or Irish companies outside its territory are not liable to tax.

The double Irish does not exploit the non=territorial nature of Ireland’s tax system. And if we are to accept that Ireland’s tax system is indeed non-territorial then the €13 billion isn’t due, is it?

No, really, she doesn’t get it, does she?

Soon after the referendum, MEPs voted overwhelmingly for a series of measures including a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), a single set of rules on taxable profits for companies operating within the EU, which can stop tax wars between nations and a race to the bottom in terms of tax rates. George Osborne’s response to this post-Brexit? An announcement that he planned to reduce corporation tax to 18%. When it comes to tackling corporate tax dodging, give me faceless bureaucrats and MEPs over Tories and their corporate cronies any day.

The CCCTB leaves the rate of tax open to hte nation, the definition of what profit to be taxed is what is set by the CCCTB.

Sheesh.

Idiot stupidity

I am outraged that Apple is outraged by its tax bill (Apple rages at EU’s €13bn tax demand, 31 August). Apple has hundreds of stores in Europe to sell its products. The message to Apple is very simple: if any of your stores catch fire, don’t bother to call the fire service. If you are burgled, don’t call the police. If you want to deliver your products using public roads, you can’t. If someone falls off a ladder in one of your stores, don’t call the medical services.

If you do not want to pay your taxes, fine. But do not expect to use the infrastructure paid for by our taxes.
Neil Holmes
Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Fire and police are paid for by rates, of which business rates are a large, around half, part and which stores do indeed pay. Roads are paid for out of fuel duty, which the lorries delivering do pay. Medical services, the NHS, are at least nominally paid for out of national insurance, a tax upon wages, which Apple employees do pay and with regard to the employers’ part (ignoring incidence) Apple does pay.

But then they are all thick in the Midlands, aren’t they?

Well, yes, they probably should

Outspoken Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary said the Irish government should tell the EU to “f**k off”.

O’Leary labelled EU’s ruling that Apple should pay Ireland £11 billion in back taxes “bizarre”, and said, ”one of the fundamental principles of the European Union is that each country has its autonomy to make its own tax decisions.

“Frankly the Irish government should turn around – they shouldn’t even appeal the decision – they should just write a letter to Europe and tell them politely to f**k off.

So here’s an interesting question about Apple and tax

We’re going to have a parade of numpties saying they were right all along. And it’s obvious that I, myself, was wrong.

The thing is, can anyone find any of those numpties identifying the specific bit that the EU used here?

Yes, we’ve had Murphy shouting that tax should be where the sales are. But that was a line specifically rejected by the Commission’s report. We’ve had Murphy again shouting that IP shouldn’t be allowable and all that. And yet the Commissions specifically said that that was just fine. And if Apple paid more to the US for IP then their tax bill in Ireland would fall.

Is there anyone at all among those campaigners who got the excuse the Commission used correct? TJN? Sikka, Murhp, anyone?