by Peter Cook
This time of the year I start to get threatening letters demanding money with menaces.
Unless I pay up by the end of January, they snarl, I shall be cast into a deep dark dungeon while interest on the debt mounts exponentially.
Behind the threats, of course, is George Gideon Oliver Osborne MP, and they come through the agency of his henchmen at HMRC.
My response to all this is to rush in panic to the accountant, who sees off the nasty men with baffling documents in a language that only money people understand.
This of course costs what seems to me like huge wodges of dosh. But for the peace of mind it affords, I am happy to pay up.
Actually I don’t really mind paying my tax bill.
Someone has to cough up if the government is to afford aircraft carriers that have no aeroplanes or to bail out banks.
Schools, hospitals, roads and welfare services are all things I have used or will potentially use. They must all be paid for through taxes.
But it’s really galling to those of us on low incomes when we hear of fat cats who try every trick in the book to avoid paying their taxes.
As they will be quick to remind us, they are doing nothing illegal. Nevertheless through tax avoidance schemes, just as much by tax evasion, they are stealing from the vast mass of us who regularly cough up.
Worse than that, they are stealing from the sick, the disabled and the poor who rely on tax revenue for their benefits.
These companies employ armies of expensive accountants specifically to devise ways of avoiding paying tax.
How they live with themselves I don’t know.
Just as much to blame, of course, is the government for failing to put in place a sufficiently robust tax system, and HMRC for failing to rigorously enforce such rules as do exist.
Perhaps they are fearful of jeopardising potentially lucrative directorships that may come their way.
But people power can make a difference. We can make ourselves aware of the companies who avoid paying their whack – their names can be found on the UK Uncut website – and boycott them. Hit them on the bottom line. That’s where it hurts.