No wonder the taxman is short of cash.

Leaving aside the unbearable irony of using Google to track down tax-dodgers

It can’t work. My house is on Google Streetview – as it was about ten years ago. Looking at the satellite you can see the pond I filled in a few years back. There is, fortunately, no sign of any greenhouse or large potted plants.

Google maps are not real-time. One commenter on the article pointed out that Google shows the car they sold seven years ago in front of the house they moved out of three years ago. The image the taxman will see on their screen might well be the image of your house years before you moved into it!

If the previous resident had a Ferrari, they’ll be round to see you. It’s no good claiming you never had a Ferrari and have only ever owned a rusty Lambretta – the Computer Says You Have It, so you must be hiding it somewhere.

It’s quite a computer too.

… spent £50million on the supercomputer, which is called Connect

After spending that much on their spy-machine, who imagines they will ever admit that all it’s showing them is a load of rubbish?

A lot of money is going in to cracking down on window cleaners and Avon ladies…

Google Earth is the latest weapon in HMRC’s battle to close a £35billion gap between what it believes individuals and companies owe and the tax that is actually collected.

I’ll bet this comes from some deal whereby they let Google off the tax-nagging as long as Google helps to smash that home-made jam ring they’ve been after for years.

It says tax evasion and the hidden economy – customers not paying VAT on home repairs, for example – cost the UK taxpayer £9billion a year. HMRC has spent nearly £1billion over the past three years trying to enforce the rules.

If the rules were simpler they’d be cheaper to enforce. If the tax burden wasn’t so complex and onerous, nobody would boither avoiding it. If Government did not so blatantly waste so much of that money, far fewer people would object to paying. None of those things have entered the taxman’s head. Nothing enters a politician’s head. Nothing at all. Something should. I vote it should be an axe.

Over the past 18 months, it has set up dozens of taskforces to probe the tax receipts and business practices of industries as diverse as restaurants, private cab firms, hairdressers, outdoor markets, car dealerships and even Avon Ladies.

Avon ladies. Seriously. There is no way a task force to catch Avon ladies can possibly be cost effective. It’s all just spite, isn’t it? All just to make sure everyone conforms and nobody tries to live any kind of independent life.

Small businesses are killed by the taxman now. That ‘tax on account’ means you pay double tax at the end of your first year of trading. If you can survive that then it’s not so bad afterwards but that first year is a killer. Unless you were like me and had a big wad of redundancy money to start with (which the bastards took 40% of) then your business will last one year. Then you are bankrupt. The tax office even gleefully reports that ‘most small businesses cease trading after only a year’. They know why. They don’t tell you when you’re setting up, but they know why.

They reckon they are short by 35 billion quid. From hairdressers and restaurants and cab firms and dodgy car dealers and window cleaners… 35 billion? Really? That’s a lot of hair on the floor and some seriously shiny windows out there somewhere.

My wages go through PAYE because I work for a cleaning company. The self-employed bit, including book sales, makes very little so there’d be no sense in trying to dodge tax on that. It doesn’t make enough to pay any tax!

As it is, I have half my tax allowance on the cleaning job and half on self-employment so I received a chunk of a rebate last April, and might get another (smaller) one next April. Smaller, because last year I was only employed for six months. I’ll fill in the form early this year again since there is a remote possibility I will owe some – that gives me nine months to find it.

If you look at my house on Google it looks like the house of someone on more than 30k a year – because I was when I bought it and while I paid off most of the mortgage. The house is now worth around 200K judging by what nearby ones have sold for, I owe only about 30K on the mortgage because I hit it hard while I had money. Will they realise this? Will they buggery.

I fully expect a visit. I have a house that is clearly way beyond what a part-time minimum-wage cleaner/penniless author/no-use-to-anyone microbiologist can possibly afford. Linking the past with the present is beyond the grasp of the average tax inspector. They are only concerned with what they can screw out of you now and in the future – which they have, for small businesses, already taxed.

What do they do with these taxes?

They spend fifty million quid on a computer to analyse ten-year-old images.

We are paying to keep idiots alive, you realise?

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15 thoughts on “No wonder the taxman is short of cash.

  1. l was once advised by a Lord that the worst thing you could do is buy a house if you valued your freedom. lt so easily becomes a means to control you and in many ways a prison that you pay for yourself. Without it, the powers that be have little to threaten you with. Especially so, if you also have no ‘possessions’ of your own. Why ‘own’ such a thing as a car when you can be just the registered keeper? Your books, photos, videos,music etc can be stored and carried with you on a host of technical equipment now openly available. Sure there are sometimes personal items that you wish to have but is it that difficult to find a new home for them?

    You currently have £140K tied up in your home but what’s the future for this? Gets used when they sell your home to pay for a retirement home? Could you not use that £140K to better use now? A motorhome perhaps?

    How many ‘gypsies’ do you hear of being harassed by HMRC? l believe the saying that ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ has a different meaning to what most believe. lt’s not to keep others out … but keep you in!

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    • The house was 80K when I bought it, worth 200k now. I plan to sell it and vanish at retirement.

      See, they won’t force you into a ‘home’ unless you have assets they can steal. No solid house, just a caravan? Oh you can stay there. Nice big house? We”ll take that and give you a shitty room policed by twats.

      I plan to own nothing when I die.

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  2. My first tax audit took two tax inspectors, my accountant and me three days. That’s 12 man-days in all. They finally, when all the whirring wheels had stopped and all the numbers were crunched, found me liable for about 285 guilders, or about 80 quid at the time. “They always find something” said my accountant, “look at it as a learning experience.” But the first three years were very difficult, when the massive tax demand thumped on the mat. “They’re trying it on.” (Same accountant.) We appealed. Good job I could afford good advice (and had learned to live like a Chinese peasant). With any luck, I might leave my kid just enough to pay off the student debt.

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  3. When I started my present business 15 years ago (printed and embroidered leisurewear to begin with), I registered for VAT straight away, as I was after business customers mainly. As I spent far more on equipment, stock, stationery, etc., than I received in sales initially, I got nice big VAT refunds early on.

    I also made silly buying mistakes, like buying too much stock. I got the VAT back, but ended up with loads of unsellable stuff, some of which is still around. I don’t expect there’s much of a market for 15 year-old musty-smelling polo shirts and sweatshirts, so time to throw it away, reduce the stock value and therefore pay less tax next time, (I might have written it off already?)

    But I wish people would wake up and understand how much tax they actually pay and stop voting for the politicians and parties who do this to us. Round here, quite a few people travel to Dumfries to work (the local ‘capital’) 70 miles away every day. They must want to pay 64p in the pound tax on their petrol/diesel – on already taxed income – just to drive to get to work to earn money to pay for the fuel, road tax, insurance and repairs (incl. VAT) to be able to get to work to earn the money to pay all the taxes they need to pay to be able to get to work and hope there’s enough money left after the 700 mile weekly drive to pay for living expenses.

    I hope that makes sense, unlike voting for the LibLabCon merchants who tax us half to death then throw it away. Their remit, of course, is to make life as difficult for us as possible without an actual rebellion. As I said somewhere before, “good” government is squeezing the people until the pips start to squeak, but not so much that they are compelled to do something drastic about it. Of course, many thousands of people do have their pips squeezed too tightly and end up homeless and penniless, but that’s the chance our masters are willing to take to keep their extortion racket going.

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  4. The real danger to the taxman are those productive individuals (individuals, mind you. Corporations do not pay taxes) who while still in their most financially rewarding years simply startle awake one morning and think “Damnme. If I did not want so many things I would not have to work at all.”

    Because…well…if you don’t work you pay naught. Legally. So far, that is. Technically, now I have to pay a tax for healthcare, but the taxman is tasked to collect it and you can see the problem.

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  5. The fundamental reason the tax man is ‘short of cash’ is because it doesn’t matter how much we give them they want more. If we all gave them all of our money in exchange for a rented tent and daily lentils they would tax the fucking lentils.

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  6. My house is blocked out on GoogleEarth because when all the initial furore was kicking off I took advantage of their offer to delete any image related to you that you objected to. Ta-daa! Big black oblong. Wonder what the taxman would make of that? Must be a criminal, eh?

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  7. SFAIK, there is a “live” version of Google Earth that you can subscribe to. While current Google Maps images avaiable free to us poor punters, the live version is up-to-date

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  8. I did actually start a new business in the UK, about 18 months ago. After it had been running for a year, I did the sums on where the cash had gone. The accounting was deliberately simple – take the money that came in, deduct the money spent on overheads, deduct the cash I put in to get things started, and see where the rest went as between me, my staff, and HMG. The results show very clearly why the Gorvernment is keen to see new startup businesses

    http://thepatentlyblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/the-reality-of-business-in-uk.html

    And that is with an LLP, so no corporation tax due at all.

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