Beekeepers win online VAT filing tribunal

A beekeeping couple from Cornwall have won the right not to file VAT returns online due to religious reasons at a first-tier tribunal.

HMRC lawyers maintained that in Blackburn & Anor v Revenue & Customs [2013] UKFTT 525 (TC), Graham and Abigail Blackburn, members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, chose out of personal preference not to file online.

But the couple insisted that using a computer was...

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my 666 th post !    13 thanks

Mouse007 | | Permalink

 

The Seventh Day Adventist Church has a Web Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the hell does that reconcile with using computers being against their religion ?

Locutus's picture

It gets worse ...    4 thanks

Locutus | | Permalink

At the bottom of the website are links to those Satanic instruments Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Email.

The Devil has clearly corrupted some members of the Church.

Amish

andrew.hyde | | Permalink

I once met a lovely man called Rudy Miller who proudly showed me round his factory in Indiana.  He was Amish and proud of the fact that his factory used neither grid electricity nor telephones. 

However he had a large diesel generator in the yard.  And also a telephone answering machine.  If anyone phoned up, he asked one of his 'English' (in Amish speak this is anyone non-Amish) employees to listen to the message, go across the road to a public phonebox, and call back. 

OK we can all pour scorn on this, but as Jesus might have said: 'Let him who doesn't believe in anything irrational and unproveable cast the first accusation of being bonkers.

 

Sadly    4 thanks

DMBAcc | | Permalink

Is it any wonder most "average" people steer clear of any religion.  If you are going to represent "God" in anything at least have the sense to be consistent. Otherwise your average "normal" person will see through the hypocracy or else the simple crassness of the whole thing

Lloyd v Taylor    2 thanks

AndyC555 | | Permalink

I'm reminded of my favourite case, Lloyd v Taylor (Tax cases Vol 46 P539).Mr Lloyd claimed exemption from income tax on the grounds that he was a master stone mason and a language encoded in the bible which could be read in stone carvings confirmed that the master mason was the supreme authority in Great Britain and so he (Mr Lloyd) did not come under the jurisdiction of HMIT. In presenting his case, Mr Lloyd explained to the judge that the line of argument was so technical that he (the Judge) would not be able to understand it.  Unsurprisingly Mr Lloyd lost (!) but the summation by the bemused Commissioners and Judge makes for fun reading.

Jedi    14 thanks

Dai Monz | | Permalink

I'm a Jedi Knight, (no, honestly - I said so on the census form in 1991 and there were enough of us for "Jedi" to be recognised as an official religion in the UK). Can I choose to submit my VAT returns using "that old Jedi mind trick"?

HMRC Stormtrooper: "Hey, you, where's your VAT Return Box 5 figures?

Dai Skywalker:            "Those aren't the figures you want. We don't owe you anything. We can be on our way."

HMRC Stormtrooper:   "Those aren't the figures we want. You don't owe us anything. Be on your way."

Aaah, bliss. May the force be with us all.

surely even moses used a    17 thanks

jonnybennett | | Permalink

surely even moses used a tablet?

Jedi    1 thanks

DMBAcc | | Permalink

Dear Jedi Thank you for putting a smile on my face and putting everything into perspective

Surely this must be appealed.    1 thanks

cmg | | Permalink

Surely this must be appealed.

Even as a practising Christian, this looks totally bonkers!

Firstly, the Bible doesn't in any way say that computers must not be used (obvious, but in a legal case, the obvious still needs to be stated).

Secondly, the 28 Fundamental Beliefs listed on the 7th Day Adventist website make no reference to anything that suggests that computers are wrong.

Thirdly, the 28 Fundamental Beliefs are themselves incorrect if they truly believe that the Bible states the only way to be followed. Fundamental belief 22 states "no alcohol". But surely the very first miracle which our Lord performed on this earth was to turn water into wine. If it is good enough for God, in the form of Jesus, to actually make alcoholic drink for human consumption, then who are we to contradict it? Are we really saying we know better, or are better, than God??

It is clear that the fundamental basis of the claim for exemption was flawed, and has to be appealed. It may well be that the Blackburns truly do have a religious belief that using computers is treating with the Devil, but the arguments put forward, as explained in the main article above simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

It may be that the HMRC lawyers were not Christian did not properly understand 7th Day Adventism, and thus could not properly present their case, and that the judge was not a Christian who could see the flaws in the case being presented. Or, most probably, both.

This has to be appealed!

should_be_working's picture

New Religion Coming Up...    2 thanks

should_be_working | | Permalink

I'm going to start the Seventh Day Just Before Teatime Adventist Church. We don't believe in mindless incompetent state bureaucracy or in paying more than 10% tax.

On a more serious note, how is it that religious convictions get a free pass like this, yet political beliefs, which can be just as deeply held, are (rightly) not?

And more!

cmg | | Permalink

"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's".

We may not like paying Income Tax, but the Bible tells us we have to pay it. On the same basis, we may have a personal preference not to use a computer, but if "Caesar" or the Government tells us to use one, why are we breaking God's instructions by doing so?

Should_be_working: this is exactly what is behind the points I've been making. Religion should not be used as an opt-out of reasonable regulations. Especially when the views can so readily be shown to be unable to stand up to scrutiny.

Nutters!

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Nutters!

Firstly, Where does it say that in the bible?

and

The said book also say's gay's should be put to death. Is that a breach of their religious rights too. If you read the book of Leviticus there is death for all sorts of ridiculous nonsense.

and What has religion got to do with the law in a secular state?

If some people are exempt on nonsense grounds we should all be exempt on fairness grounds.

What's the joining fee for this cult there could be a saving! Cash not souls.

Are all Christians allowed this exemption and can you sue your branch for not offering this discount.

Good for them    1 thanks

David Gordon FCCA | | Permalink

 

What happens in the USA will happen here, see comment following.

 The issue  is not religious belief.

  The issue is that the executive of HMRC were entirely wrong in devising a tax system which in essence insists on the use of computers.

 A 2011 US survey showed that maximum penetration of IT for business purposes would not go above 80%.

 Thousands of sole, part-time, and personal taxpayers have been put to uneccessary considerable expense by this lunatic insistence on universal IT.

 Also, It is part of a continuing campaign to remove HMRC employees from any direct contact with the taxpayer,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damn right!

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Mouse007 wrote:

 

The Seventh Day Adventist Church has a Web Site

How the hell does that reconcile with using computers being against their religion ?

Damn right, HMRC should appeal, what was their lawyer doing?

Just shows it's all complete bullshit.

When does a statement like that become perjury?

patricia caputo's picture

Seventh Day Adventists    1 thanks

patricia caputo | | Permalink

 

We are Christians (Church of England) and have a number of Seventh Day Adventists in our family.  The use of computers and mobile phones are not frowned upon by our devout relatives. 

As far as I know it is the Plymouth Brethren who do not use computers and mobile phones and I suspect that HMRC may well win any appeal.

 

 

Fairness for middle of the road taxpayers    1 thanks

Paul Craig | | Permalink

I think I am about to start a new religion too, where compliance with the requirements of HMRC will be prohibited as will the payment of any financial penalties.  In fact why even bother paying tax, it seems to be optional for so many.

I believe that my human rights are being infringed in that by being denied the same rights as the Seven Day Adventists I am being unfairly treated. 

I hear they have a website, although that seems to be against their religion.  Perhaps I'll email them and request to join their church. 

We should have a mass campaign for people to join the Seven Day Adventists and all write (make sure not to email) HMRC to advise them that we can no longer comply with their online filing requirements including RTI.

What a joke.

I need to get out of the current minority that I'm in (UK taxpayer who does not belong to any minority group or claim any benefits) and get into one where I can claim discrimination.  All of the people in this country should be bound by the same legislation regardless of their race, religion, beliefs etc.

It would of course be good as a starting if that legislation was fair.

If I walk down a main avenue in Dubai, pissed as a fart with a scantily clad woman on my arm (who is not my wife), I don't fancy my chances of arguing that my beliefs allow that. 

I believe in tolerance, however, that tolerance must fit in our society.  I don't think anyone should question their beliefs, however, I do believe that their beliefs should comply with the laws of the land. 

 

 

 

 

On a point of fact    1 thanks

cmg | | Permalink

The Black Knight

The Bible categorically does NOT say that gays should be put to death. The relevant verse is Leviticus chapter 18 verse 22, and it says that "no man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that". The actual words vary in the different translations, but the message is the same: "It is a detestable sin", and "God hates that" and "it is an abomination", etc, etc, but NOWHERE does it say that such people should be put to death. Besides, our God is a God of love and forgiveness, and indeed, for the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, we are also specifically told that we must not judge other people, otherwise God will judge us in the same way. Thus Christians must not in any way judge or discriminate against those who choose a gay lifestyle.

Sorry to all for the off-topic, but I couldn't let an error go uncorrected.

Now back to work!

Using Computers

derdle | | Permalink

I wonder if the taxpayers have a car or van?

Most modern cars are basically computer driven.

#justasking as they say.

what?    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

cmg wrote:

The Black Knight

The Bible categorically does NOT say that gays should be put to death. The relevant verse is Leviticus chapter 18 verse 22, and it says that "no man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that". The actual words vary in the different translations, but the message is the same: "It is a detestable sin", and "God hates that" and "it is an abomination", etc, etc, but NOWHERE does it say that such people should be put to death. Besides, our God is a God of love and forgiveness, and indeed, for the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, we are also specifically told that we must not judge other people, otherwise God will judge us in the same way. Thus Christians must not in any way judge or discriminate against those who choose a gay lifestyle.

Sorry to all for the off-topic, but I couldn't let an error go uncorrected.

Now back to work!

What new age nonsense is that?

I have the real version (English translation granted.) The penalty therein is death the greeting is "may your blood be upon you"

It certainly don't say what you have quoted.

and regardless of the penalty the book is spreading hatred.

The real crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by these various religious groups range from child abuse to murder.

"imagine no religion, Nothing to kill or die for" John Lennon

Your beliefs are your own and you are entitled to them but they should be kept behind closed doors and certainly not influence the law.

 

itp3asso's picture

allergy to eating peanuts

itp3asso | | Permalink

i have an allergy to eating even one peanut which resultantly triggers within my inner psyche an abhorrent fear of surrendering to the exchequer of my country any tithe tax or excise .

i m off to poundland now to purchase and scoff four bags of the jumbo size in anticipation of a visit to the tax office for a robust " exchange of views" ......

Cornish Honey    1 thanks

cmb230 | | Permalink

Seems that they are willing to let the Cornish Food Company use the internet to sell their honey for them

http://thecornishfoodboxcompany.co.uk/?product=cornish-moorland-honey-1lb

Religious Conscience    1 thanks

Tim Thomas | | Permalink

I love the Bible and read it as much as I can. While I have never read that the Bible teaches we should not use a computer, though there are certainly many sites I would wish to avoid e.g. porn sites, my reading of the article above seems to deal more specifically with "Religious Conscience" and the couples acting in accordance with their religious conscience, than with whether or not the Bible does teach such a doctrine about computers. Thanks Jonny Bennett. I like your humour :)

While I do not think there is any person on earth who has perfect understanding of the Bible, I believe it is required to live according to ones conscience. If you believe something to be sin, whether that thing is sin or not, and if you act against your conscience and do that thing, then you do sin, for whatever is not done in faith is sin. (Romans 14;14,23). The better we know the Bible the more our conscience will be informed by the Bible. But if someone's conscience, however misinformed, demands them to live in a certain way, why is it so common to poor scorn on them? Is it not because their righteous life condemns us in our sin? I rejoice that the judge has upheld the freedom to live according to conscience. 

HMRC had argued, although not mentioned in the above article, that it was the couples preference since the Seventh Day Adventist Church did not ban its members from using the internet, although it does require its members to avoid 'unwholesome' or 'sordid' influences in the mass media. Now there is a challenge. How often we allow unwholesome and yes, even sordid images to enter our minds without even noticing. I am not a Seventh Day Adventist but I think this is worthy of notice...

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think on such things..... And the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8

Yours, a forgiven sinner made righteous by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

For God so loved the world (not hated) that he gave his one and only Son (to die on a cross), that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

Imagine there is no Heaven - how miserable!

Imagine there is no Hell - you might wish!

Start thinking as accountants not "Outraged of Tunbridge Wells"    1 thanks

David Gordon FCCA | | Permalink

 

 You miss the point

 HMRC should not have the power to make use of IT compulsory.

 I acquired my first computer in 1979.

  and I have still not tamed the beasts.

 There are many small jobs where pencil and paper are faster and more efficient

 As a 1960s audit clerk I thankfully admit that the use of IT has done away with much drudgery, and inconsistency.

 nevertheless efficiency in tax and accountancy is measured by the number of man-hours it takes to perform a task. If you add the number of manhours equivalent represented by use of IT, the question of increased effciency remains problematical.

Gordon's Law:

The increase in jobsworths,regulation, and adminstration is directly proportional to the increase in computer and printer  power.

Religion is red herring

0691088 | | Permalink

I don't think the real issue is religion, it is with the idea that every business should file online.

I have no problem with online by default, but I think every business should be allowed to opt out and use paper returns, just with the old 1 month time limit rather than the extra 7 days.

Two deadlines work for SA Tax Returns, so why not VAT?

Nick Graves's picture

Imaginary being forbid...

Nick Graves | | Permalink

derdle wrote:

I wonder if the taxpayers have a car or van?

Most modern cars are basically computer driven.

#justasking as they say.

 

...that they ever have an accident; have you seen inside a modern ambulance/paramedic Mondeo?

Mind you, if it meant I never had to have another one of those :headbanging: discourses with HM Arsey again, I'd sign up tomorrow...

 

   

PhilMetcalfe | | Permalink

 

 

Stone age

JohnBanfield | | Permalink

Who would have enough faith to use a Book-keeping service that doesn't use internet, computers, television and mobile phones !!!!

Even if you don’t use IT directly, the society that you live in is engulfed in such compliances.

The only way to avoid it is to flee to a desert island (rowing there only as the plane has a computer system). Mind you, this may suit the clients depending on the local tax laws (that you could create), and returns wouldn't have to be done online !

Spreadsheet fanatic John

advertising in the Sun Directory?

Darkside_UK | | Permalink

...... and even in the Sun ???   http://directory.thesun.co.uk/12079892. Well I suppose the 7th Day is a Sun-Day...........

Conscience    1 thanks

The Black Knight | | Permalink

Darkside_UK wrote:

...... and even in the Sun ???   http://directory.thesun.co.uk/12079892. Well I suppose the 7th Day is a Sun-Day...........

Or was the sabbath a Saturday?

Telling lies seems to be o.k. then.

I had one of these religious types a few years ago, most concerned about computers but didn't want to put his tax right.

The point is however that no one should be forced to use a computer if they don't want to. It is not always the most efficient way and comes with additional costs to small business and the government (increased fraud being an example).

Even at a book keeping level the standard has fallen to appalling levels as people generally get unintelligible rubbish out, believing it to be right.

Belief seems to be a condition associated with those in denial of reality or the vulnerable.

 

johnjenkins's picture

wow, great debate.    3 thanks

johnjenkins | | Permalink

I too am a jedi knight who was an audit clerk in the sixties.

The main thing missing (as always these days) from both HMRC and the religious bods is common sense.

You really cannot ban the use of paper returns for anything and some relgions turn their backs on common sense. So there must be a clingon somewhere in the system that is causing this warped mutation of what is sensible.