You know, this thing about us all obeying the spirit of the law instead of the actual law. When HMRC comes knocking, just write the ceque for whatever they demand. Don\’t ask for clarification, don\’t ask them how or why you owe the money: just cough up for anything else would be tax avoidance wouldn\’t it?
And certainly never ask for clarification of the law before you decide how to do something: that would just be proof that you were planning tax avoidance, wouldn\’t it?
More than £88 million has been seized from people found guilty of counterfeiting tobacco brands since 2005. But an appeal by one man, William Chambers, revealed that Customs officers and prosecutors obtained a confiscation order against him under 1992 excise duty regulations, amended in 2001 to exclude tobacco products.
The case forced the Revenue & Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) to track back through 4,000 case files. Dozens of similar errors have been unearthed, with many more files still to be examined. The RCPO faces repaying millions and being sued by people who had to sell their homes to meet the confiscation demands.
Those authorities themselves are entirely capable of breaking the law. Because they are ignorant of it. So perhaps actually we ought to be questioning their every move, insisting that they show us each and every time where their powers come from, how and why we owe their imposts, instead of supinely rolling over to present our sphincter for a raping?
If the authorities will not act by either the letter nor the spirit of the law in their dealings with us then why should we in our dealings with them?