Office of Tax Simplification policy director confesses to a bit of alcohol-related tax planning advice.
As the tax/policy director at both the CIOT and the OTS and a regular commentator on the BBC, John Whiting is the public face of tax simplification.
And with tax avoidance rating very high on the political Richter scale, it’s very unusual to hear him offering tax planning tips. But he did just that in an aside during his speech at the recent IRIS World event in Twickenham.
It’s one that will appeal in particular to those with a taste for Pink Gin, as it relates to Angostura bitters, the piquant Trindadian flavouring that gives the cocktail its characteristic colour.
For those who don’t know, it’s quite alcoholic - 30-degree proof, Whiting expxlained.
But since Angostura bitters is currently classified as a food additive, it doesn’t carry excise duty. This is one of the 80 or so reliefs and exemptions that will be abolished as part of an OTS-inspired purge in the Finance Act 2012.
“In terms of simplification, there isn’t much argument for it carrying on that exemption. Sadly we had to abolish abolish it from next April,” Whiting told the audience.
“Anybody who has a liking for Pink Gin, you’ve got about six months to lay in a good supply. I’ve probably done more for Angostura sales than most have done for few years,” he added.