It’s tax week on television, with two documentaries probing the nature of the UK tax system and the inner workings of HMRC. The BBC’s long-delayed Panorama documentary kicked off proceedings on Monday night with Tax: Are you one of the six million? (available via BBC’s iPlayer until 15 Nov). The response from AccountingWEB.co.uk members and other accountants was dismissive:
- In an Any Answers thread started by Richard Willis, Constantly Confused commented: “I just enjoyed how outraged my wife got while watching it while I just nodded and said, ‘Yep, that’s happened to our clients.’ It’s pretty depressing that nothing in the program shocked me, it was all things I had seen first hand, and I’m sure I’m not alone.”
- “Quite lazy journalism,” added Jason Dormer. “For an organisation that size, to find only two whistleblowers coming out with "Management don’t listen to staff" etc was hardly cutting edge. And they didn’t tell us anything about the coding notices that most of the public didn’t know already.”
- In a sequence of posts on his Tax Buzz blog, Mark Lee considered the documentary “a mishmash that attempted to cover too many disparate topics” that failed as a result to reach any meaningful conclusions.
Round two of TV’s tax season goes out at 9pm on Channel 4 tonight (Thursday 11 Nov). According to the pre-publicity, Britain’s trillion pound horror show will be a polemical film presented by Martin Durkin explaining the £4.8 trillion hole that the country has dug itself into.
This time, Richard Murphy has led the profession’s critical charge. In his
, he pointed out, “Durkin has a history of producing documentaries that have been open to challenge with regard to the facts,” notably with last Channel 4 documentary that questioned the imapact of global warming. The Tax horror show documentary is not so much based on fact as a desire to radically transform the structure of our society, he argued.
“The distributional issue… becomes the tail that wags the whole tax reform and economic dog. If all you’re going to do is worry about overnight winners and losers in a static view of life you’re going to consign yourself to a slow stagnation,” argued the tax justice campaigner. Take the opportunity to be a TV critic yourself and let us know what you think of them by posting your comments below.