Wednesday, 22 September 2010


In a way, I find the Express quite endearing. It's kind of like a children's version of the Daily Mail. I like to imagine that its writers sit on the floor in front of little fun plastic desks, copying Press Association articles out using massive crayons, tongues sticking out of the side of their mouths as they concentrate really hard on every letter.


Today's front page seems to bear this out. It comes across like an angry, stamping toddler, complaining loudly that he doesn't get enough pocket money to buy sweets. It's not fair, Kevin's parents give him twice as much and he's got a Wii!

It's really quite a staggering front page, isn't it? Even after you get over the initial confusion of thinking that Michael Douglas has been appointed The Taxman and isn't too happy about it, you're confronted with something quite bizarre. The taxman wants ALL our wages? This 100% income tax idea seems a bold step, particularly from a Conservative government. Labour, yeah, that's the sort of mad communist thing they'd do, but Cameron's Tories? Has Comrade Vince Cable warped them with his Marxist hectoring?

Of course, the story, as it turns out, is almost breathtakingly mundane. The coalition Government made a lot of noise about how overcomplicated the tax system was, so it's outlining a bunch of proposals to make it simpler. One of them is the possibility that maybe, at some time in the future, if the idea gets through Parliment, they might change the system so that HMRC makes its deductions itself, rather than having employers make the deductions on its behalf and then sending the money to the Government.

The Express is furious about this though. The idea that the money would technically go to the Government first seems to anger them to a frankly baffling degree. The article begins:
THE taxman could soon be getting his hands on all our hard-earned gross pay before we see it, it was revealed yesterday.
BEFORE WE EVEN SEE IT! Even though we don't get to see the money anyway because it's all deducted by our employers first! OUR HARD-EARNED GROSS PAY!
The taxman could then deduct income tax, national insurance and any student loan payments – before money is paid into our bank accounts like a parent doling out pocket money.
The thing about this, though, is that this already happens, but it's employers who do it instead of The Taxman. Does this mean our employers are effectively our parents? Is the head of monthly payroll my mum? I haven't been getting her anything for Christmas. And hey, look who it is:
Emma Boon, Campaign Manager of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “After recently telling six million people they’ve been paying the wrong income tax for the past two years, there’s no way we should reward HMRC for failure by giving them more power and responsibility.
Aside from a fact this is only a proposal and will most likely never come anywhere near being implemented, that argument doesn't even make sense, given that one of the reasons people paid the wrong tax was because it was left to employers to determine what tax people should be paying. But then I suppose it's the TaxPayers' Alliance's job to be angry about everything involving tax, all the time.

Now, I'm sure there are loads of potential issues with this proposal. It may be unworkable or unwise. Lord knows I don't particularly want to defend this Government. But if you're going to make a big deal about creating an Office of Tax Simplification, as they did, then it kind of behooves you to at least consider all the possible ways of reforming the system. Yes, even if one method makes you feel like you're being given "pocket money"! It wouldn't be so grating if the Express had come up with some reasonable, adult reasons for complaining, but this? This is just throwing toys out of the pram.


  1. Well I think it's disgraceful that MONEY GRUBBING BANKERS get their hands on MY POCKET MONEY before 'allowing' me to withdraw limited amounts. And what if I want to spend €1,000 on crack in just one day? Well, I'd probably have to save the cash from yesterday and then go and withdraw the rest from another machine today (I don't know if this is remotely true - I think I remember something about there being a daily cash withdrawal limit but I can't be bothered to check). And in the meantime, these BANKERS are LOOKING at my money with their COMPUTERS, and probably laughing at the OBSCENE amount I paid out automatically days after getting my salary because I agreed to take on one of their disgusting credit cards. I will probably vote UKIP now, if only they'll come out in support of my own petty and minority obsession about these BANKERS.

  2. "...copying Press Association articles out using massive crayons..."
    that's a lovely image, and probably closer to the truth than any of us dare to imagine.

  3. While some families do not pay federal income taxes, these households do pay other forms of taxes.

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