Surely not? We are customers of HMRC. And any organisation which is customer-facing has as its maxim 'The customer is always right'. No organisation would create a needlessly complicated system to annoy its customers.
I'm glad to have some confirmation that there is a real problem in the NHS which has nothing whatsoever to do with medics being overpaid and is caused entirely by an incompetent government and civil service whose decisions increasingly generate unintended consequences. I am infuriated by snide remarks which suggest we should be jealous of medics receiving good compensation. My concern is that we are providing incentives for experienced people to leave the profession early. If we penalise people for remaining in their role, and give them an incentive to leave, why would we expect the outcome to be any different from the unfolding disaster in the NHS which we are witnessing now? If a medic with 30 years' valuable experience leaves 10 years early how long will it take to replace that level of experience?
I'm more worried about patients. I recently met two medics, a consultant anaesthetist and a specialist intensive care nurse. Both took early retirement for exactly this reason - that if they had continued working they would have been penalised. They were quite categoric about it, it was not in their interest to carry on. They both regretted cutting their careers short (as they saw it) but they had this huge incentive to walk away taking all their experience with them. They are aware that their hospital is losing many of its most experienced people for exactly this reason.
This happened to me - I never got any demand or statement this January.
Are they trying to put us all out of business?
I don't think that is an explicit aim. It's certainly not documented. But the way I read the tea leaves is that the state bureaucracy would quite like the self-employed and the majority of SMEs (including small firms offering professional services) to just disappear and be replaced by large businesses and (whisper it very quietly) state sponsored enterprises. In the same way I get the feeling that they quite like the current chaos because one inevitable result will be a diminution in the effective power of elected representatives and a concomitant increase in the power of the state bureaucracy. I appreciate that this is a political viewpoint, and I fully accept that I may be wrong, but when people say to me, "Are they trying to put us out of business" my answer is, "Probably, Yes."
A friend of mine used to supply them. Unilaterally they imposed new trading terms on their suppliers and called them to HQ in batches to be told about these new terms. My friend told me how frightened of their customer the other small suppliers were. He wasn't frightened because from day 1 in his business he never let any customer become dominant. The new terms were unacceptable to him so he ignored future orders and communications from H&B. Eventually they got the message - it took a while. This was years ago. In my experience businesses never change an embedded culture.
I just had my car's oil changed. The bill included a separate item for the cost of disposing of the old oil. Same thing happens when tyres are changed - there's a separate charge for disposing of the old tyres.
I'm in favour of all businesses charging separately (and additionally) for the costs of compliance with regulations. It increases transparency to the customer and if the charges get out of hand the customers might be induced to complain to their MP. I don't suppose such complaints would do any real good but perhaps charging separately for overheads like this would make it clear to customers/clients just how much of the bill is made up by overheads imposed by government. Perhaps in this particular case charge for "Compliance costs" with a note at the bottom that this includes HMRC fees, compulsory membership of regulatory bodies, insurance, etc.?
'These days, I seem to get most of my best tax avoidance ideas from broadcast media..... a short, sharp investigative piece regarding a sophisticated new tax avoidance scheme.'
Whether this is an April Fool joke or not, the important thing about this article is that it's yet another example of the creeping conflation of tax avoidance and tax evasion. I feel this is a very dangerous trend which must be fought against by all who are in a position to do so.
The seriously worrying thing about this is the title of the paper: 'Tackling tax avoidance, evasion and other forms of non-compliance'.
This is another brick in the wall they are building, encouraged by politicians, to encircle taxpayers so that anything we do to reduce our tax bill is regarded as non-compliance, even if it is lawful. The distinction between evasion and avoidance is gradually being whittled away, by HMRC if not yet by the courts. It is quite wrong to lump the two together like this, but HMRC have either lost the plot or have a different plot in mind, one in which anything that a taxpayer does to reduce their tax liability is deemed non-compliant, and they can shove their shovel into our stores as much as they like with impunity.
Good article but a more complete list of the questions raised by this scandal can be found here: cakequestions.blogspot.com
None of the questions have yet been answered satisfactorily. I fear that many of them never will be.
"...the failing is not that Mr Johnson couldn’t tell from the accounts what was going on, it is that the business cannot have had satisfactory management information to present that performance." An alternative explanation might be that, just possibly, the information provided to directors, the audit committee, and the auditors was fraudulent. And none of them noticed.
By the way, Johnson and the rest of the board are still in place, the only exception being Marsh. For some reason he has been allowed to resign instead of being dismissed, and, so far as I can tell from published information, he has retained the profits he made from exercising share options whose value was based on incorrect statements of the profitability of the business.
By the way, Patisserie Valerie is merely a brand name, one of several owned by Patisserie Holdings plc.