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Friday 21 January 2011

TPA – All The Way To 2020

On Friday last, I observed that the “2020 Tax Commission”, supported by the Institute Of Directors (IOD) and the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) would be meeting for the first time on January 18. But even before this historic date, the Commission’s name was appearing on press releases.

In a piece titledComplexity makes tax even more costly than cash paid to HMRC”, TPA non-job holder Rory Meakin urges simplification of tax codes. Although the title itself makes no sense – a little care and occasional proof-reading may prove useful to this endeavour – the content gives a useful insight into where this venture is heading.

Meakin underlined this the following day when he posted a further missive titledWe need a tax system HMRC can understand”. Sadly, there is another of those TPA false assumptions at work here: merely because HMRC come back for more well after the end of the tax year doesn’t mean they don’t understand. Such behaviour means they understand the system only too well. But, nevertheless, the article shows the direction: there will be much talk of simplifying taxes.

But what of company taxation? This area was visited by Meakin on Wednesday, with a post titledCorporation tax cuts not bold enough”. This is a predictable move, given the kind of folks willing to bankroll the TPA, and the motivation of the IOD: a drive to lower corporation tax rates will also feature in the work of this commission. There will be much talk of “competitive advantage”, “entrepreneurship”, and “enterprise”. A few veiled threats about moving everything to Zug may also be deployed.

And tax cuts elsewhere are also on the Commission’s radar: the same day, the increasingly busy Meakin assertedTax cuts needed to cut chronic youth unemployment”. Compassion for the young, perhaps? Not a chance: in among the usual verbiage is the nugget “high minimum wages may simply put businesses off hiring”, with the suggestion that paying a 21 year old just under six notes an hour is causing distress among the TPA and IOD.

Moreover, the clear corollary is that this Commission will urge abolition of the minimum wage: the TPA’s so-called Research Fellow, Mike Denham, who sits on the Commission, has already said this on his blog. No doubt there will be lots of “research”, many “reports”, and a continuing slew of press releases to back up the growing wish list, and I await them with interest.

Not that I’m expecting anything original, useful, or even decently argued, you understand.

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