This sounds like a wonderful idea, but how exactly would it work? Suppose that a busload of MPs goes over a cliff. We have 78 by-elections, and 78 new MPs. A basic principle of our Constitution, if not of logic itself, is that no one can dictate to these MPs how they will vote when they get to Parliament. Income tax is an annual tax for which the authority to raise it has to be renewed every year. It is not possible to dictate to any of these new MPs, or to any existing MP for that matter, how they will vote. In the case of other taxes, such as VAT, Parliament could resolve to determine the VAT rate at the start of a new Parliament, and not to review it, but there can still be a palace revolution after which the new regime changes it.
Most websites are found through search engines such as Google, and there is a big industry engaged in search engine optimisation (usually abbreviated to SEO), which means placing your website as high up the Google rankings as possible. Today (27th April 2015) Google is changing its software in favour of websites which it judges to be mobile phone friendly, which may come as a shock to some businesses which have previously relied upon high placings to get custom.
Bookmakers have to pay income tax the same as anyone else. Sometimes they have good days, and sometimes they have bad days, but on average they make a profit or they wouldn’t be in business at all. The Revenue allow them to offset the losses which they make on bad days against the profits which they make on good days, which is only fair considering the nature of their activity.
We are keen on the introduction of optical character recognition with a view to scanning bank statements. There are a number of OCR devices on the market, such as pens, mouse scanners, wand scanners and conversion software for flatbed scanners. If you buy and try any of these devices, you will probably notice quite quickly that the device works quite well some of the time, but it has a tendency to go haywire and produce utter rubbish. Why on earth would an accountant be interested in anything like that?
Let’s say that a business doubles its prices, and the customers have no choice but to carry on buying. The business is now richer, but the customers are poorer. Total wealth of the business plus the customers stays the same. This is the zero-sum game where gains and losses add up to zero.
The Revenue views pensions as deferred pay. That is, if you save 10% of your income in a pension fund, then you will only pay income tax on the 90% which you declare as earnings this year, and the 10% in the pension will be taxed as income when it is paid in a future year.
This isn’t something which will affect many people around Carlisle, but let’s just explain it in a light-hearted way. Suppose that you are a prince in a country where alcohol and gambling are illegal. The night life is dull, so you head for London and take up residence in a hotel in Soho. While you reside in the UK, dividends from any British shares which you happen to own are taxed in the usual way, just like one of the natives. If you die in this country, then assets which you own in this country are assessed to inheritance tax, but assets which you own abroad escape the inheritance tax net. This is the privilege of being non-domiciled.
Let the buyer beware. Accountants don’t normally write about wine, but let’s say a few words so you know what you are paying for. In the village of Piesport in Germany, there is a famous vineyard which makes wine from the Riesling grape, a grape variety which requires a fair bit of work to get a decent crop. So famous is this vineyard, that every other wine maker in the village wants to sell their wine under the same name, and so they changed the law to allow everybody in Piesport to sell their wine as Piesporter Michelsburg.
If you think that someone owes you money, then it is advisable to put your claim in promptly. Delaying your claim by seventy years is a bad idea. Lawyers have a standard saying for this, which is the heading of this ‘blog.
Suppose you have a pension fund and you think you could do better by reinvesting it as a pension fund elsewhere. You go to an Independent Financial Adviser to ask about doing this. This adviser needs to have passed an additional examination usually known by its code number as G60, and hardly anybody has done this.