I’m all for Snippa’s idea

Tax and justice

7. Justice should be seen to be done within a tax system. Tax authorities should make available all legislation, information, support and explanations required to assist a taxpayer seeking to comply with their obligations. Appropriate, timely, affordable and independent appeal mechanisms must be available to those who believe that they have been incorrectly taxed. Penalties for those who err must be proportionate.

Quite so. Have the system simple enough, and well enough explained, that tax accountancy entirely disappears as a profession. Given the population’s average IQ this militates against anything other than a single box tax system. Your income was? Pay x% here.

Cool Beanz, no?

17 thoughts on “I’m all for Snippa’s idea”

  1. Andrew C - Fiendishly Clever Tax Adviser

    Terrible idea.

    It is to the benefit of all to have a complicated tax system few can understand.

  2. @Andrew C
    And our MPS, among whom lawyers and beancounters are significantly over-represented, seem to agree with you, for some unfathomable reason.

  3. Diogenes, why do you think Herr Oberst Kartoffel loves it so much? He hates the idea that so many people are better off than he is.

  4. Dennis, CPA to the Gods

    I don’t know about how things are in Wogland but here in ‘Merica we already have all those things.

    And if the tax code is complicated, you can chalk much of it up to ‘Merican citizens attempting to find new, innovative ways to avoid taxation. Much of the rest is due to the machinations of the officials and representatives freely elected by the citizenry.

    Every asshole in the world says he wants a simple tax system… except, of course, for the various deductions, etc. that he gets. That’s different. It’s like balancing the budget… We all support it, as long as it’s the other guy’s programs and benefits that are being cut.

    And justice? That’s in the eye of the beholder. The hangman’s perspective is markedly different from that of the hanged.

  5. @Dennis

    When I started in tax at the tax office, we didn’t have any of that ‘online’ malarky and had to read what we called ‘books’ (young people may need to google this).

    Anyway, tax legislation was published in what were known as the yellow and orange books. Yellow direct taxes (income tax and so on) Orange indirect taxes such as VAT (GST to you).

    The Yellow books had two volumes one chunky, the other not so. Orange was one volume. That was over a century of tax legislation

    Along came Gordon Brown.

    By the time he finished there were four chunky yellow books, two orange. He’d effectively doubled the amount of legislation in a decade.

    He would squeeze new Sections into the tax acts so you’d end up with absurdities like Section 42P after he stuck a new load in between section 42 and 43. There are even bits where it’s section 72AF because more than 26 new sections had been crammed in.

    Every budget whole forests were cut down to provide the paper for the new rules.

    I think we’re up to 5 yellow and 3 orange now. All books you could batter a horse to death with.

    Simple it isn’t.

  6. Dennis, Odin's Tax Collector

    Andrew –

    Things are not that much different here.

    But you cannot allow your elected officials and representatives act as they do (for there is no difference,in the final analysis, between Tory and Labour, Republican and Democrat in this matter)and then bitch about what you end up getting.

    Richard Murphy doesn’t want tax simplification, nor does he want tax justice (whatever the fuck that is), what he wants is a system that validates his personal prejudices. And quite frankly, that’s exactly what most people want.

  7. @Andrew

    Five yellow, two orange.

    We’ve just changed over to Croners from Lexis Nexis, and I was horrified to find that they no longer do red and green in hard copies, so we’re having to buy yellow and orange. Although they’re still called ‘Red’ and ‘Green’ on the online version (which is blue).

    I personally like the way that Z comes before A in the section numbering 🙂

  8. Dear Mr Worstall

    “Penalties for those who err must be proportionate.”

    Does that apply to HMRC staff?

    I thought not.

    DP

  9. “you’d end up with absurdities like Section 42P after he stuck a new load in between section 42 and 43. There are even bits where it’s section 72AF because more than 26 new sections had been crammed in.”

    Andrew C, amen. But, further, this happens across the board. Not just tax law. The parliamentary draftsmen are, frankly, genii – in a technical sense.

    But the overall autistic absurdity, the control freakery, the assumption by a faineant governing class whose members have never done any actual work that the Cits have nothing better to do with their time that to parse and interpret Parliament’s latest bowel movements, then the fact that everyone ends up getting ‘caught’ for something they could not possibly, reasonably have known of* … well, that must change, although I see no prospect of it.

    * Cue Randian quote…

  10. He’s now saying he is not meglomaniac trying to build general agreement to be followed by the world. Just the opinion of one humble man.

    Not sure where the word ‘consensus’ falls in.

  11. How surprising that his first thoughts on confronting a wrecked economic landscape should turn to tax.

    It is scary that we just don’t put him in a cage and laugh at him. We are much too compassionate

  12. ” Tax should be used to reprice goods and services to counter social harms and promote benefits that markets alone cannot deliver”

    No one with any vestige of sanity could write that.

  13. And it can be done.

    NZ has an on-line system almost that simple. I think you do have to enter how many dependents etc too. And dividends are separate because we give tax imputation with them. Done in ten minutes for most people.

    And VAT is flat too, so very simple to administer and hard to cheat.

    Why other countries don’t do the same is beyond me.

  14. “Appropriate, timely, affordable and independent appeal mechanisms must be available to those who believe that they have been incorrectly taxed. Penalties for those who err must be proportionate.”

    That’s the hemp fandango for capt. Spud then, given that he will always feel “unjustly incorrectly taxed” , and already has proven to regularly err with numbers.

  15. @Chris Miller, Andrew C

    +1 Gordon Brown when chancellor admitted he could not complete his SA tax return as too complicated

    Made me laugh and cry

    @Chester Draws

    @Tim W should investigate and report on NZ System

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