Letter of the law or spirit of the law?

Interesting:

Angela Beech, partner at chartered accountants Blick Rothenberg, said: \”Those that receive these demands need to think before they automatically pay up.

\”If you had given HMRC information that would have enabled them to adjust your tax code to make sure that you did pay the right amount of tax, then, if the time limit has passed for them to use that information, they cannot pursue you for the unpaid tax.\”

An HMRC spokesman said: \”HMRC can consider writing off the underpayment in certain circumstances.

\”Basically these are if HMRC had been provided with all the information necessary to get their tax right and the taxpayer could have reasonably expected their tax deductions to be right.

\”In these circumstances they need to contact HMRC and ask for the underpayment to be reviewed on that basis.\”

Now I think we all know how the spirit of the law will be interpreted by certain people. That was the tax rate at the time and you should cough up.

Yet the letter of the law is, in essence, stating that if you did everything right and the government fucked up then, well, the government fucked up and they should carry the costs of their having fucked up.

I wonder if we\’ll see people insisting that following the law is tax avoidance then?

4 thoughts on “Letter of the law or spirit of the law?”

  1. I mean, it is not as if you “owe” HMRC anything, just that HMRC has a “legal” writ to take money from you under certain circumstances and if those circumstances do not prevail, then that writ is not in force.

    Donate away, if you want to, for that is all it will be.

  2. “government fucked up and they should carry the costs of their having fucked up”

    That would be great, but government never carries any costs – it invariably dumps the costs onto the blameless taxpayers.

    But, I think the Athenian democracy had a system under which public officials who overran their budgets had to reimburse the city from their personal funds. Maybe that would be a worthwhile reform for the Coalition.

    Tim adds: there was one or other of those early democracies where if you proposed a new law and it didn’t pass then you got strangled in front of those who had voted against it.

    Violence has its uses……

  3. “government fucked up and they should carry the costs of their having fucked up”

    Don’t like this wording. This is of the same stripe that a reduction in the amount that the Govt contrives to demand from me is a “subsidy” from other taxpayers. It is not.

    They fail to do what they ought to do if they wish to collect by force of law, then they’ll just have to learn to spend less.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    “Yet the letter of the law is, in essence, stating that if you did everything right and the government fucked up then, well, the government fucked up and they should carry the costs of their having fucked up.”

    Yeah? Let’s see how it plays out here shall we?:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1309728/Guns-rocket-launchers-missiles-seized-police-Worcester-house-raid.html

    The guy seems to be a bit of a nut case, but he says he has all the necessary permits. Instead of asking him, they raided his home and dragged everything away. Ten to one he gets nothing back, not even an apology.

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