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?