For the past week the press, the government and, of course, other comics have had a field day picking on Jimmy Carr, a comedian whose work I like.
Every time something has been said about it I simply felt like screaming 'It's not his fault'. Nobody has picked on the civil servants who left the legal loophole. I'll bet none of them got sacked. It's a fair bet that Jimmy isn't an accountant and probably merely signs whatever his management/accountants says is best for his finances without really understanding the small print. I know I do, even though I know I have no off-shore accounts at all.
I think the problem is much deeper. For what it is worth I have long thought that the tax system is totally flawed. I had best explain that I do not come from a wealthy background. Despite all the publicity I don't have oodles of wealth and describe myself as asset rich and cash average. What follows therefore is not the normal bias from the point of view of the wealthy, I just think it's common sense reasoning. It leans towards the socialist view of all people having equal opportunity and being treat equally.
A country costs money to run. Somebody somewhere must know how much and where the money is going and for what. Somebody somewhere must also know how much income is earned or coming from investments and how many people are earning it.
Is it really beyond the realms of mathematicians to show one as a percentage of the other? Surely the only fair tax would be to charge absolutely everyone the same percentage rate of tax. Those earning nothing would pay nothing. Those earning a little would pay very little. Those earning fortunes would pay a LOT but at least with this single rate of tax the amount of office work would be reduced enormously. I do mean ENORMOUSLY. All income would be taxed at the source of the income, by the payer, and transferred immediately to the tax office.
As there would be only one tax, and as the country's expenses would have to be listed clearly, we citizens would realise exactly how much we are paying out.
VAT, which has to be the most ridiculously expensive tax of all time to collect, would disappear. There would only be income tax on ALL earnings.
At the moment we have SO many hidden taxes people don't realise what a high percentage of tax they are paying.
There would be no loopholes because the declaration of tax would not be the responsibility of the individual tax payer.
On a lighter note, it was great to enjoy the Jubilee celebrations, especially when Her Majesty came to Henley upon Thames and we went up the river by boat to have a picnic and watch her arrive by boat. Great day.