No, really, he is. Highlights:
I think it fair to say I know something about tax, accounting and economics, having been trained in each of them.
That mantra of economists is one of certainty. Economic modelling is based, as I see it, on just two fundamental premises, and I’m aware I’m simplifying, but not, I think by much. These premises are:
· That future events are known;
· That people act rationally – and are, therefore, predictable.
The training didn\’t take, obviously.
I would expect to hear great gales of laughter from Great George Street as that is uttered.
The rest seems to be that because because there is uncertainty thus also the tax system should be uncertain. For how could we manage future events unless we could change the tax laws? Thus all these calls for certainty in the tax system are in fact unethical.
And yes, he wants to overturn Partington.
An appalling argument he puts forward. Absolutely vile.
No one, no one at all, is putting forward the argument that tax rules in the future must be static with respect to today\’s starting point. The only thing that anyone is asking for is that the law be static today for actions undertaken today (or per financial period etc). That Corporation Tax this year is the rate that Parliament currently says it is: they don\’t get to come back in 18 months time and say, \”Whoops! We\’ve not enough dosh so we\’re raising the 2009/2010 tax rate to 60%. In, err, 2012.\”
Despite the fact that Roy Jenkins did in fact do exactly that with an investment income surcharge in one of his budgets.
So, he\’s arguing that because we need flexibility about changes in the future, which will of course apply to future actions after people have been informed of them, thus we need to have no certainty now because we might want to change the rules on what people have already done.
Which really is a vile argument.
I hope they horsewhip him on the Treasury steps, I really do.