The Law Society election manifesto includes ‘Develop a new Tax Law Charter’ to support certainty, which appears sensible and attainable.
However, the reality is that such a charter has to be agreed with HM Revenue & Customs, whose attitude is implacably to pursue interpretations of statute wording that favour collection of the maximum amount of tax and grant no favours to the citizen.
The only area in which this attitude relents, in my experience, is when by accident in drafting the citizen is subjected to tax twice on the same source of taxable income or capital.
Over the years, bodies such as the Law Society’s Revenue Law Committee have pursued ‘certainty’ – usually fairness for the citizen. But they have been disappointed to find that the citizens’ tax bill has been increased with certainty.
All rulers, autocratic or democratic, depend on taxation to pursue their ambitions. One of the few curbs we, the citizens, can exercise over the mad enterprises in which they engage from time to time is to limit the revenue available to what is due by law.
Even that is of little use now because, if a government’s tax revenues are inadequate, it prints or borrows to fund the shortfall.
The Tax Law Charter will prove a double-edged sword.
Michael Loup, Neustadt, Germany