‘Tax reliefs have been abused’? One man’s abuse is another man’s (or tax adviser‘s or accountant’s) ‘doing the best for my client while ensuring we comply with current legislation’. The problem is, paying and collecting tax is not cricket. Even cricket, many a long-standing MCC member watching a test match may tell you, is not cricket any more, with very ungentlemanly stumpings being within the letter but not the spirit of the game. If there are rules and by abiding with those rules and doing other stuff which is also within the rules, which is what usually happens here, you save some tax, surely it’s the rules which are to blame? If you gave the tax you saved to charity, would that reduce the abuse (he said, in a salute to the 50th anniversary of hip hop). Well here’s yet another committee looking to ‘simplify the rules’ to ‘make it easier for taxpayers to adhere’ to them. Yet the reason they’re complicated is that simple rules are much too easy to dodge! Answers on a postcard, please
Yes, Inheritance Tax is in need of reform, but then so is most of our ridiculously complex tax system. We tend to assume that ‘Death Duties’ are a relatively new, socialist tax intended to stop the landed gentry passing on their stately homes and estates and perpetuating their advantages.