My Annual Tax Rant

by Mark Alexander

16:15 PM, 3rd January 2011
About 8 years ago

My Annual Tax Rant

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My Annual Tax Rant

It’s coming up to that time of year when I have to pay my taxes again. That means I have made a profit so I should be happy right?

WRONG!

I’ve been thinking about all the taxes I pay.

When I employed 300 people my corporation tax bill one year was over £1 million. I’m sure the government think they invested it wisely into spanky new offices for their latest regulatory quango’s but I’m sure I could have invested it better into my business and created jobs that create real wealth.

This is the tip of the iceberg though. Some would say that I should pay higher taxes “Rob the rich to feed the poor” they say. However, every one of my employees was also robbed on taxes by a government who thought they could better invest the money.

It’s not just income tax that stings. What about Council Tax? I live in a big house and there is no street lighting. The road leading to it is unadopted so I have to contribute to repairs. My daughter went to a private school, the crime rate is low in the area and I pay for private medical care. If I want a bigger wheely bin though I have to pay extra.  Why, therefore, should I pay more council tax simply because I live in a house that’s bigger than I need?

I own a few cars but I can only drive one at a time so why do I have to pay road tax for each of them?

I sometimes wonder how much of my taxes are wasted in the process of just collecting them. VAT is a good example of making an industry out of taxes. Now we are all paying 20%.

I heard recently that a person earning £12,000 in the UK pays £7,200 in taxes when all taxes are taken into account. That’s hardly robbing the rich to feed the poor is it?

Just imagine what life could be like with no taxes at all for say 90% of the population. Some might say it would be anarchy but there’s proof that it wouldn’t and I’ll come on to that shortly.

If the entire public sector was privitised there’s no doubt it would run more efficiently. The largest employer in the UK is the health service. A huge chunk of our taxes pay for this service which is monopolised by the government and yet we have the worst rated health service in the developed world. A compulsory insurance scheme similar to the one in Germany could soon fix this.

Toll roads could easily replace road taxes.

Our public sector accounts for 53% of all jobs. If we assume that everybody paid 25% tax that would mean that 4 people would have to be employed by the private sector to pay for the public sector. However, that’s not the case so it’s easy to see why the country is getting deeper and deeper into debt. Even communist China only has 25% employed in the public sector. That’s less than half of what we have in the UK!

If the vast majority of the public sector could be privatised and 90% of taxes could be abolished we might have a chance to put the GREAT back into Britain.

Labour could be so much cheaper and companies would choose to move their manufacturing to the UK as a result, thus creating more jobs and bringing wealth back into the country. People would be incentivised to make something of their lives as the benefits system would disappear for all but the most vulnerable. Take away benefits, add jobs and even the laziest people will work to feed themselves.

I take little comfort in that a judge once ruled that it is perfectly legal for me to organise my affairs to pay the minimum amounts of tax. However, for now that’s what I have to live with so that’s what I do. I’d much rather be paying my accountant to help me grow my business though.

By the way, there is one country that has done pretty much what I’m suggesting here. It’s called Hong Kong and believe it or not it was a British man who created the framework for their success.

I’m not into politics and I don’t have all the answers. I just fancied a rant! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If not, I hope you will find it therapeutic to post your response. Having got this off my chest I now feel a lot better. Re-motivated to continue to build my own business/property empire.

RANT OVER



Comments

21:41 PM, 5th January 2011
About 8 years ago

You didn't mention dreaded tax credits. What is that all about?! They seem to be the biggest disincentive to working ever introduced. A convoluted system which just creates a fear of over-earning lest monies are reclaimed or withdrawn without warning. Just stop taking so much income tax and let us manage our own finances on a day to day basis and who knows - we might actually behave like a nation of grown-ups! Pah!
(it's fun this ranting thing isn't it).

2:42 AM, 6th January 2011
About 8 years ago

Tax credits - why do i need to tell the inland revenue my earnings ? Arent they the people that should know that !!

Gareth Thomas

11:07 AM, 6th January 2011
About 8 years ago

I've always said that no Government can spend my money better than I can! I also saw that programme about the Hong Kong model of taxation and concur 100% .

I want to see most taxes abolished with the exception of, say, Income Tax. I want to see no income tax payable by individuals earning less than £20,000 per annum. I want the Government to account properly for the money received in taxes. By reducing the taxes payable this will reduce the bureaucracy surrounding the collection of those taxes and thus save money by not employing people in a wasteful public sector. Thos people can then become entrepreneurs and create their own job by way of self-employment and/or business/consultancy.

Companies should be taxed on profits only. They shouldn't be taxed for employing people e.g. NICs (this would help job creation and reduce unemployment).

As for tax credits... the whole paperwork exercise took so long, it was not worth my valuable time claiming the paltry £545 or whatever it was we were entitled to! In fact, shortly afterwards, it transpired my income came in just above the limit back then and I ended up paying back the whole lot for the year in which I earnt slightly over the allowable limit. A total waste of my time!!! When I complete my accounts and tax returns at the end of the year, I despise doing it because I feel like I'm an unpaid worker for HMRC. I do 99% of their work for them now.

13:04 PM, 6th January 2011
About 8 years ago

I have a solution to all those taxes- Vote with you feet - Move to Dubai
Only pay true taxes on UK income- Fly regularly in and out(flight days do not count towards residency) -and only in Summer
Enjoy the Winter Sun, swim every day or play tennis /barbeque when you want
Only 2 things seem to be taxed there -Impoted goods (4%) and alcohol (circa 0-20%) and even this is still cheaper than UK
And oh Yes Petrol is 1pound/gallon (It is subsidised so is this a negative tax?)
Voltage is 220 so all you gadgets will work and almost everyone speaks English
See you soon

20:51 PM, 6th January 2011
About 8 years ago

every pound we pay in taxes is another addition to the house of cards that is the world's economy. every pound encourages the government to spend another two pounds. we drop deeper in the doo-doo.
the trouble with commerce is that every time someone makes a profit someone else makes a loss or takes a cost. the nett outcome is that someone aquires riches as another is impoverished. but it's all hidden. you buy a house and for some reason it increases in value. mr banker allows you to borrow some of that increased value. where does he get the money to lend you? from china, usually. what do you spend your newly aquired money on? goods from china, usually. so you pay back your loan with interest. china lends you the money to keep their factories churning. have we as a nation made anything to sell to pay for these goods? at least 50% haven't as they work for the government or public sector. so 50% of us are not only funding the lifestyles of the other 50%, we're also adding to the hundreds of thousands of new millionaires in china. collectively we actually owe 1.8 trillion. that's a lot of consumer debt. now the chinese are coming over and buying up britain and the states. the states have so much public debt that if their mints (they have four) were only to print $100 bills 24/7/365 they could not even service the interest on their debt. we are in a similar position and our answer (like the yanks) is to throw more money at the problem with quantitive easing. so what to do?
two currencies would be a start. one for external commerce and one for internal commerce. colour them red and green. if you sell abroad you get you british equivelent in red pounds. that means you get to buy foreign goods/raw materials with your red pounds. your workforce gets a share and so they can buy foreign goods. you work for the public sector and you get green pounds. you can only buy british goods. all of a sudden the balance of payments is equalised. it works on a global scale too. each country can buy only the equivalent of what it exports. no country can get fat at the expense of others. to encourage home industry to step up to the mark, and produce goods fit for function, then a price per item can be established by some arbitrary means that will encourage other manufaturers to take up the challenge and the resulting competition will ensure high quality.
the other way is to drop the price of the £ and $ to a penny each and pay off the huge debts at a penny in the pound and then go to the wall as china and india buy us all up and we can become punkha wallahs and dhoby wallahs for our eastern masters. about 2050 i should say. so it's business as usual then?

23:11 PM, 6th January 2011
About 8 years ago

As for all those tax credits, as a landlord, they've turned into a NIGHTMARE. My tenants have had their housing benefit slashed, with the cut back-dated to when they started receiving tax credits. I'm supposed to get the difference off them (huh!) and they've also been sent a massive council tax demand for the same reason, which they'll never be able to pay. So WHAT ON EARTH is the point of giving all these tax credits, if the money is then taken away from other benefits??????????? It's been a disaster for me!

8:09 AM, 7th January 2011
About 8 years ago

Come on you Guys get in the real world, I spend all my life travelling the World and believe it or not there is no place like good old Blighty. If you want to move to Hong Kong or Dubai my suggestion is that you catch the first flight out.

I don’t agree with the Health Service comment and if you want to work in a relative financially and politically safe environment you have to pay the price even if it means being taxed.

Yes I have a couple of BTL but having been badly burnt in the 80’s to the tune of £200k (the time of Mrs. T) I took my medicine but then made the decision never again to be sucked into the Bankers free market in positions I could not control. While you Guys were happy re-mortgaging on a re-mortgage I was quite happy to sit back and let the capital values rise and leave them in the property which is now paying back nicely than you. You have now had your time of the “quick buck” so sit back and take the punishment for the greed of earlier years.

I too do not like paying tax (and I have paid a lot) but accept it as an inevitable consequence of a socially progressive life. What I have more problem with is those that deliberately set out to cheat the system and here I include many an MP that “flipped" their properties which is criminal, I personally declared my sales and paid the going rate as much as it hurt.

The message has to be you need to take the bad times as well as the good or get out.

One other thought in my simpleton view when I look at mortgages now they seem to be at the same actual % levels payable before the crash – when the Bank rate is low the % on top is high when the Bank rate is high the % on top is low which in my mind equals the status quo.

Happy New Year.

8:26 AM, 7th January 2011
About 8 years ago

Happy New Year to you too Tony. Thanks for your contribution.

Richard Greenland Richard

23:46 PM, 11th January 2011
About 8 years ago

Would save masses of money in government make-work schemes if the overly-complex tax system was simplified to just one tax - income tax.

15:59 PM, 16th January 2011
About 8 years ago

Ok I am American so I would appreciate if you could explain what is council tax and what is VAT? I agree about the Universal healthcare. A federal judge has deemed the American version unconstitutional and several states are filing lawsuits against the federal government for the bill claiming it unconstitutional. I hope the bill is defeated either by the suits or the new Republican "owned" house and senate. We also have a great deal of taxes, which I believe makes people more needy than they need to be. For instance if a worker has to pay taxes on minimum wgae ($7.25 per hour) they take aproximatley $600.00 per month in taxes (obviously this fluctuates depending on the deductions of each person but is an average amount) Now, that perosn is living below peverty level and now needs $300 or more in Food "Stamps". " um question teacher" *student raises hand "wouldn't it make more sense to let the worker keep $300.00 from their paycheck instead of taking it and giving it back in food stamps?" My favorite rip off is the fact our state has been charging a 1% sales tax on all services and product sales for decades, and they have closed down many of our schools because they are decrepid and can't afford books, computers, repairs, teachers wages. I wonder how much money they got during that time. Our capitol city Des Moines, was sued by the public for exploitive taxation. I wa simpressed the citizens actually won and the city must pay back Millions of dollars to citizens. Everything in America is a tax, we have taxes on untaxable services, taxes on untaxable food, taxes on taxes, property taxes, license taxes, taxes on all our utilities, taxes on inheritances, taxes on necessities, taxes on our license plates, taxes, on drivers and occupational licenses, taxes on medical insurance, taxes on child support, there is no end ever. I worry about a government who claims they have no money yet have not decreased taxes one bit. Where is all the money then I ask.

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