If only he knew about tax

Maugham took HMRC to court in an effort to discover if it was looking at whether Uber had paid the correct amount of VAT. In recent US filings, Uber said that HMRC was “seeking to classify the company as a transportation provider”, which would require it to pay VAT.

Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK said the Supreme Court’s decision could lead to a clampdown on Uber by EU countries. “If they’ve got a VAT liability in the UK, my suggestion is they have a VAT liability in every country in the EU as well. They have got a substantial VAT bill,” he said.

VAT is incident upon consumers. Thus the campaign is that you should pay more tax for taking an Uber.

16 thoughts on “If only he knew about tax”

  1. Seems to me the taxi companies stand to gain, customers stand to lose, drivers will be shafted

    So much for innovation

  2. They’ll have a pretty significant bill for the last few years – there’s no way they’re passing that back to those customers.

  3. They will have a big bill for unpaid VAT over the last X years. Going forward the incidence is more likely to be on the passengers and the drivers than Uber though.

  4. They will have a big bill for unpaid VAT over the last X years. Going forward the incidence is more likely to be on the passengers and the drivers than Uber though.

    At some point they are going to have to make a decision on whether to continue or not (especially with their ever growing losses with no end in sight), even if it is just in relation to the UK operating company, maybe the combination double-hit of back-taxes for employees and VAT would be the turning point?

  5. As I think I mentioned before (or maybe dreamed it) these judgements are always based on the situation as it was at the time. Suppose the decision hinged on the fact that Uber made drivers wear an Uber baseball cap. Uber lose. What will they do about baseball caps going forward?

    The decision for Uber on whether to continue won’t be based on the decision just given it will be based on whether they can re-work their relationship with the drivers so that the decision wouldn’t go against them next time.

    One of the factors was that Uber set fares (well, so do licensing authorities for Black Cabs so not sure how relevant it really was). So, OK, let drivers fight among themselves to offer the lowest fare they can. Yay. Won’t that be good for the drivers.

  6. One of the factors was that Uber set fares (well, so do licensing authorities for Black Cabs so not sure how relevant it really was). So, OK, let drivers fight among themselves to offer the lowest fare they can. Yay. Won’t that be good for the drivers.

    How about Uber suggest a “recommended minimum fare” and then the software automatically indicates by how much it has been “increased” (or adjusted) in the offer/accept.

    Then it’s a negotiation (not prescribed) but the usual practice will be to accept the recommendation?

  7. Incidentally, since HMRC have been mentioned, the ‘Mail’ have an article on the mad-as-hatter bloke who murdered the custody sergeant with a hidden weapon, with his mum whining about how he’s got to communicate in pictures (because he turned the gun on himself) and how he’s ‘very intelligent but can’t put 2and 2 together’ because he’s autistic.

    Guess who he works for..?

  8. @JuliaM – There’s a long tradition of amazing people who worked for the tax office. That nutter you mentioned, James Callaghan, the lead guitarist in Toyah Wilcox’s first band….um….me…..er… that’s about it.

  9. “One of the factors was that Uber set fares (well, so do licensing authorities for Black Cabs so not sure how relevant it really was).”

    No, licensing authorities set a *maximum* fare. Absolutely anybody is at complete and absolute liberty to charge whatever the hell they like up to that limit.

  10. @jgh

    “Absolutely anybody is at complete and absolute liberty to charge whatever the hell they like up to that limit.”

    Has anyone told the official taxi ordinance people? They seem to think…..

    “The taxi tariff London was last set in October 2018 and published in the official tariff ordinance. It is binding for all taxis and taxi companies within the compulsory driving area and may not be exceeded or undercut. This is ensured by officially calibrated taximeters installed in the taxis.”

  11. Andrew C – that’s London, that is.

    My own council says;

    “Regardless of whether the meter is set to the Council’s maximum fare, or your own lower fare rate, it is an offence to charge more than the fare shown on the meter.

    The Council would strongly encourage vehicle owners to set meters to display the Council’s set maximum fare rate. Customers can be confused if hackney carriage vehicles operate different meter tariffs e.g. a passenger could take the same journey every day using a different hackney carriage and the meter could display something different. This can lead to passenger complaints of overcharging. If all meters were set to display the Council’s maximum fare tariff this would benefit drivers and passengers. The driver is still free to spot discount at the end of the journey or calculate the fare in accordance with their own displayed tariff.”

    Then again, who is going to leave money on the table?

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