Skip to content

Wondrous thinking

So Ritchie’s progressive consumption tax on bank accounts:

All it would require is evidence of how a person paid for their lifestyle given a known income without apparently using a bank account

Standard tax investigation stuff – and very straightforward

So apparently it would become a legal requirement to use a bank account for all your transactions then?

44 thoughts on “Wondrous thinking”

  1. We’re heading that way anyway: digital payments are getting cheaper, cash has greater problems of security. In your lifetime I expect to see paper cash abolished in at least one country (probably Japan first); we might still have coins, but you can barely even pay the cleaning lady with a stack of £2 coins. In the absence of paper cash, traceable bank accounts are the default position.

  2. Nah, just for any and all income to be paid in to a bank account.

    You take £100 out of the ATM – it gives you £80 and a £20 receipt (which you must keep for 5 years) for your now-mandatory-for-everybody self-assessment returns.

  3. That’s the objective.

    Some are pushing this idea in Denmark. The cashless society.

    Total and absolute economic, social control of the drones with an absolute capacity to punish ‘deviant’ behaviours. A marvellous idea for authoritarian taxturbators. Hell for the rest of us.

    The idea must be opposed on every level and even if someday they achieve it, we, the drones, will, of course, continue to operate at least part of our activity through cash or its then equivalent.

    The new revolutionaries!

    ‘A penny for your thoughts’, will no longer mean anything!

  4. The ultimate logical conclusion of this direction of travel is the reversal of the presumption of innocence. In order to be allowed to retain any portion of what the LHTD considers to be the Government’s money anyway, one will have to demonstrate that one has received it legally or it shall be seized by its rightful owner, the Kurajus Stait.

  5. In your lifetime I expect to see paper cash abolished in at least one country (probably Japan first)

    Contrary to what you might expect, Japan is a very heavy user of cash. It took me all day to find a cash machine which recognised Visa cards, finally finding one in Tokyo at the international post office. I seem to remember we paid cash for everything when we were there.

  6. Bilbaoboy is correct.

    The scum want the absolute control that they think a cashless society would give them. It indeed must be opposed.

    Nor would it be as easy to stop cash as the scum think. Witness US drug dealers use of a some brand of detergent as currency in various drug deals. So long as both parties to the exchange agree on the medium of said exchange cash will not be defeated.

    Even if you have to carry it in a hip flask rather than a wallet.

  7. @SE, and only one bank account per person, at that, maybe a second if it’s a low-access saver. I doubt HMRC can handle more. Should make switching accounts a whole barrel of laughs. And budgeting for Christmas. “let’s see what the next Budget brings before we order that new kitchen, honey”

  8. Tim

    I think that is his desire certainly – as well as nationalising the entire banking sector everyone would be required to have an account which would be monitored by a heavily unionised bureaucracy. Already happens in the closest real life example of the Courageous State and the usual problems of black marketeering and criminal activity are apparently endemic according to all reports out of that country (as per Murphy’s desire to restrict advertising information from the country in question is heavily restricted)

  9. “Standard tax investigation stuff – and very straightforward”

    And just what would he know about that?

  10. Bilbaoboy: ‘A penny for your thoughts’, will no longer mean anything!

    Probably doubly true with both pennies and thoughts prohibited.

  11. It may be “Standard tax investigation stuff” and “very straightforward” to investigate a millionaire lifestyle and an obviously insufficient declared income. A bit trickier to prove a £40k lifestyle on a £30k income.

    Which is why he demands that we prove ourselves innocent, of course.

  12. It’s never going to work. Outlaw cash and we’ll just barter our way around things and maybe even invent new cash.

    Also, Mr Murphy really doesn’t appreciate how big the collection regime would have to be. It might possibly be “standard tax investigation stuff” (it wouldn’t), but the sheer scale would be enormous. It would include all the millions of PAYE people that the current system can happily ignore.

  13. Bitcoin? Etc.

    However, I suspect that what they are doing is creating the public opinion in which using anything but official issue currency via electronic transfer is first seen as a bit dodgy, then immoral, then a financial crime against the people.

    Of course, people being dickheads, it will not occur to most of them that this will apply to them. It’s always someone else who is ripping off the taxman, isn’t it?

    Next stop, in about 2030 – show trials.

  14. “Ironman

    “Standard tax investigation stuff – and very straightforward”

    And just what would he know about that?”

    Murphy once again shows his complete ignorance of tax investigations. Having done 10 years as an HMIT (as was) Inspector I know that ‘Lifestyle’ enquiries were always a nightmare.

    Sure, someone claiming to live on £10k a year but living a £50k a year lifestyle was straightforward but claiming £35k a year and living the same lifestyle was a swamp of an investigation. “How much did your last haircut cost? How much do you spend on takeaways?” We hated that sort of case. Impossible.

    And a £100k a year lifestyle on £75k a year? What’s a £100k a year lifestyle anyway?

    Murphy obviously has no experience of such things and point blank refuses to listen to people such as myself who has.

  15. Murph’s glee this morning of how easy it would be to use negative interest rates in this world of centrally controlled bank accounts was very revealing. What an appalling fascist he is. He should be burned in effigy on November 5th instead of Guy Fawkes.

  16. “In your lifetime I expect to see paper cash abolished in at least one country (probably Japan first)”

    S Korea is probably close. Plastic is used for almost everything there. In a recent 2-week stay I saw very little cash use by anyone.

  17. Nearly every day I spend 60p or 52p in my local baker’s (I don’t buy loaves any more since #1 son left home because my wife likes brown bread and they’s go stale). Murphy wants that to be a banking transaction?

  18. Bloke in North Dorset

    You don’t have to go to reductio ad absurdum to see how frightening this could get.

    Once they’re got their hooks in to everyone’s bank accounts it isn’t a difficult step to tie them to point of sale technology which would reduce a lot of effort in chasing people.

    That would give the public health fascists that Chris Snowden is always exposing wet dreams as they realised they were a short step away from rationing.

  19. The Other Bloke in Italy

    Like the good AndrewC, I h ave experience of “straightforward” tax investigations, from both sides of the desk. Soul-destroying.

    I have never commented on Murphy before, but the Shakespeare Insult Kit tells me he is a cockered, boil-brained flapgragon.

  20. Ecks,

    The detergent in question is Tide. It’s become currency in a whole load of American criminal subcultures. A right bugger for the supermarkets who sell it.

    In the Apalachians, apparently, it’s cans of soda — because you can get hold of them with food stamps. Immediate (and literal) liquidation of a not-so-liquid asset.

    Anyone who proposes abolishing cash clearly doesn’t know what cash actually is. But then a lot of people have trouble with the idea that stuff can still happen even when the state doesn’t enable it.


    > S Korea is probably close. Plastic is used for almost everything there. In a recent 2-week stay I saw very little cash use by anyone.

    Yeah, but that’s because it’s convenient. People will always do what’s convenient. Introduce a scheme where everyone has to use plastic on pain of prosecution so that they can more easily have more of their money appropriated on pain of prosecution, and just watch the Great Cash Comeback.

  21. The detergent in question is Tide

    How does the recipient know that it hasn’t been cut with Lidl own brand (or the Yank equivalent, obviously)?

  22. Ironman

    His exchange with you is another classic on this – Apparently ISAs are ‘a regressive’ form of taxation….. Is there no beginning to his knowledge?

  23. “And a £100k a year lifestyle on £75k a year? What’s a £100k a year lifestyle anyway?”

    And what will he say when he realises that you can live a £35k lifesyle on £100k a year – what will it be, “hoarders” or some other thing that he will then seek to tax?

  24. Dear Mr Worstall

    A great comeback for bills of exchange*.


    * ” …an unconditional order in writing, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay a sum certain in money at a fixed or determinable future time to a specified person or to bearer.” s whatever, BOE Act (whenever) from forty year old memory.

    A cheque is a bill of exchange drawn on a bank and payable on demand, obviously.

  25. HMRC currently keep an eye out for people whose lifestyle looks above their declared income.

    So they would also have to keep an eye out for people whose lifestyle looked below their income……

    So you’d better live a lifestyle which exactly matches your income…..

  26. “And what will he say when he realises that you can live a £35k lifesyle on £100k a year – what will it be, “hoarders” or some other thing that he will then seek to tax?”

    H has already answered that – you will have to prove that your consumption really was £35k. So we will have a tax whose entire point is to reduce consumption, but if you really do reduce your consumption you are immediately suspected and have to prove your innocence.

    Incoherent doesn’t even get close to describing it, and that’s the charitable view, that he has good intentions. The uncharitable view is that his intention is to create a gigantic apparatus of State control to torment and persecute its citizens.

  27. @abacab,

    He already thinks that. When I asked him if his 20K lifestyle on 80K+ income was allowing him to invest in Green projects and employing people, his response was “I’m 54”.

    You see that person is over consuming, that person is hoarding cash, but Ritchie, he’s just saving for his retirement.

  28. @John77: yes that could indeed be a banking transaction; does your baker not have a contactless payment device? If not, they’ll be losing business – perhaps not yours, but certainly that of – ahem – younger people.

    As for the abolition of cash, well yes, we know it’s the elite’s wet dream, but good luck with that guys, I am just back from Italy, where cash is pretty much king and doesn’t look like going out of fashion any time soon.

  29. He’s written a fresh article clarifying today.

    In effect, there is no “annual return of consumption”, simply a transaction tax on all bank account receipts and payments (accounts linked where necessary with exemplions for intra transfers) with some form of additional annual “progressive” charge. And presumably the bank would have to apply a nil rate in some way for the first £20K and all that? Lucky banks.

    Does no one else think that he’s simply a chancer? He writes utter nonsense, and then waits for those here (and elsewhere) to sort out of the inconsistencies / problems for him! Others are doing all of his work for him.

    It would explain why he keeps contradicting himself every five minutes, the poor bugger can’t follow / keep up with the comments..:)

  30. @ Andrew Duffin
    Neither baker has a contactless payment device and neither seems to be losing cusomers to Tesco – they close when they’ve sold out every day.
    Contactless payment device – the dream of the schoolyard bully: instead of pinching the little kid’s lunch money he/she pinches the card and can spend ££££ before it’s cancelled.

  31. “his response was “I’m 54”.”

    This opens up new vistas for irrational answers. When you challenge him on the obvious and adjacent contradictions on his blog, he can reply “I am fourteen stone” or “I am 5ft 7”. It won’t make any less sense than what he writes now, and may in fact be accurate.

  32. Van


    And of course he hid behind the delete button when I pointed out that
    a) not taxing someone is not the same as a tax, regressive or whatever
    b) he wants to tax spending from bank accounts but also wants to tax savings. In other words, he’s invented… a Wealth Tax. And he doesn’t even realise it.

  33. We could always go back to using cowrie shells. Does anyone know the current exchange rate to the US dollar?

    Or maybe we could just use US dollars. After all, if it is good enough for Mugabe….

  34. Rob: <…he can reply “I am fourteen stone” …

    Surely he wouldn’t attempt quite so blatant an untruth.

  35. Bloke not in Cymru

    Annecdotal I know, but was told that investigating farmers who operate on a cash/exchange basis was a real pain for tax.
    In a similar vein does his scheme mean that someone with a veg garden and chickens would lead to being investigated, and lets not start on jam/preservers bartering networks and sewing circles and the like. Are home sewing machines etc to be banned or licensed. Terrible tax dodgers the lot of them.

  36. @BNiC

    What about goodwill, which is the most valuable coin of all? Oh, hang on, he’s taxing mine already…..

  37. Bloke in North Dorset


    Re Korea and cash, from this week’s Economist:

    But even among rich countries, Sweden and Denmark remain outliers. Elsewhere, demand for cash continues to rise steadily (see chart). Curiously, the rich country clinging the most enthusiastically to cash appears to be South Korea. Despite Koreans’ fondness for plastic and a declining number of cashpoints, won in circulation have risen by 15% a year since 2009, or more than triple the rate of the previous five years. This cash is not being spent in shops; nor is it likely that the shadow economy has grown enormously.

    Instead, Koreans seem to be hoarding cash. Very low interest rates have reduced the opportunity cost of snubbing banks. And in 2013 the government reduced the amount of interest Koreans could earn before becoming liable for tax. To avoid the resulting paperwork and scrutiny, many wealthy Koreans began storing their excess earnings in cash. The Bank of Korea saw many high-denomination notes disappear from view; sales of private safes tripled between 2010 and 2014.

    And that’s going to be the 2nd and 3rd order affects of Ritchie’s policy. Whatever is used as the store of value will increase, leading to more robberies and burglaries, leading to more safes being sold and an increase in the right wing Law and Order vote, which he wouldn’t lie. I suppose he’ll slap a new tax on safes as only the guilty will need them.

  38. Bloke in North Dorset

    “He already thinks that. When I asked him if his 20K lifestyle on 80K+ income was allowing him to invest in Green projects and employing people, his response was “I’m 54”.”

    So know he’s adding a whole new layer of complexity, the damned thing will be age related as well.

    And a new industry will spring up selling forged birth certificates to present to bank with everyone suddenly become 54, or 57.

  39. Avoidance may not just be cash, what if I receive part of my pay as a Tesco gift card, as long as PAYE is accounted for correctly of course.
    Maybe luncheon vouchers will make a comeback and green shield stamps.
    Good job company truck shops are already illegal.
    I’m sure some of the payment in kind schemes that have been closed will become popular again.

  40. Get some cancelled betting slips from behind the till.
    Buy a return to Vegas and upgrade with cash for the return flight.
    Problem solved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *