Choose your own adventure - pick your favourite tax news story...
Tax eh? It’s a bit like buses. You wait ages for a good tax story, and then four turn up at once. Of course, when we say ‘good’ we mean ‘mildly interesting’ and, faced with such a glut of fiscally-flavoured tales, we thought we’d serve them up as a smorgasboard of tasty tax treats.
First up is the crockery tax. Forget the Olympics and Jubilee, 2012 is the year of the ‘insert-random-word tax’ and crockery tax is no exception. In a, quite frankly, bizarre yet superspeedy decision, on Thursday the EU decided it was going to slap a load of import levies on crockery (cups, plates bowls etc) being imported from China. These levies, announced with less than 24 hours notice, are going to add up to 58.8% to the base cost of these products when imported to any EU member state, including the UK.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium told the Telegraph “Let’s be clear – these new duties will feed through to higher prices in stores…and, because China mainly supplies the value end of the market, they will deny less well-off customers access to affordable crockery.”
Looks like we’re back to eating off the floor then.
Second course is the news that our Welsh friends think they should have their own taxation powers. Their colleagues north of the border already have some taxing rights and the Welsh committee, which we think was made up of wholly Welsh people, would like to get in on the taxing act as well.
Wales, of course, already enjoys free prescriptions, but one of the measures they would like control over is Air Passenger Duty, hoping to scrap it entirely for long haul flights out of Wales. They must really hate everyone who works at Bristol or Liverpool airports…
Third up is the absolute and utter certainty that Vince Cable has finally got his ideas for a property tax on the very rich planted firmly into the Chancellor’s mind (if not necessarily his Budget). While the ‘mansion tax’ has faded into the background, Mr Cable is confident the changes will be addressed “in the next few weeks”, a time period that would include the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement due at the start of December.
He plans to introduce three new supertax bands for Council Tax, at £1m, £1.2m and £2m which could see those owning the top valued homes paying over £8,000 a year. David Cameron is said to be “dead set against it”.
And finally, a Daily Star reader has surprised us all by writing a letter (who knew they were literate, right?) about the futility of green taxes. He surmises that fuel duties and environmental taxes are all completely pointless, and that we should instead tax farmers on the volume of emissions from their cow’s bottoms. We think the idea is not without merit.
So which do you think is the best/most exciting/most thought-provoking piece? We all know you are going to go for the farting cows, but why not prove us right in the poll below?