Sunday, 26 June 2005

Puzzled of Bishb'rne here

A piece in the Observer entitled "Tax crackdown on home tutors" has got me puzzled. It starts by warning the parents of pupils having extra tuition that the tutor may be subject to a tax investigation - so what? Why might the parents care? But the bit that I found troubling was
'Home tutors are more likely to be educated and aware of the correct ways of doing things,' said the spokeswoman. 'For this reason, although the majority are honest, those who are not will be given no leeway when they are caught.'
Now call me old-fashioned but there are bits that don't make sense to me. First up - being educated doesn't in any way equate to understanding the byzantine tax system in this country and secondly, being educated means you are liable to stiffer penalties or to less leeway! What kind of system is this??? Is there to be a formal sliding scale? Professors might expect summary execution for being late with their tax return because they are very well educated - in Philosophy or Music or Art in the 16th Century, makes no difference. Leave school with two GCSEs though and you are allowed to do whatever you want with regards to tax because you simply don't know any better! Of course the whole thing is thrown into sharp focus when we condier the enormous amounts in question - people are charging up to GBP50/hr - terrible, the tax being lost on that will have the country on its knees. Damn good job that we have tax compliance officers, who cost nothing, sitting round with nothing to do apart from counting the number of people visiting certain houses. Of course the amount of tax routinely hidden by large corporations isn't worth chasing or worrying about because many of them don't employ people with doctorates.

In a separate piece though it's clear that although academics understand the tax system they can't handle complex sums. It's worth checking out this article as it deals with the ID card and suggests that civil servants will cripple the bill to introduce them. But the Home Office is disputing the findings of a report by the LSE:
However, Home Office officials are thought to be unconvinced by a London School of Economics report, to be published tomorrow, which suggests the total cost of the scheme could be as high as GBP18 billion, more than three times the government's estimate.

The Home Office minister Andy Burnham is due to meet the authors of the report at a meeting of the left-wing Campaign Group of MPs tomorrow. But Clarke's aides began to brief against it as soon as they received a copy this weekend. 'The IT and operational costs are fabricated,' said one Home Office source. 'They have spoken to 20 private IT companies, where we have spoken to 300. We just don't recognise many of their figures.'

The official said that the academics appeared to have simply multiplied the original government estimate of GBP93 per card in order to make the figures look as bad as possible.
So there you have it - academics know the tax laws but not research principles or mathmatics - I hope that helps.

4 careful considerations:

kat said...

"Home tutors are more likely to be educated." ??

That’s terrible. :-)

The warning to parents seems to imply that they would somehow be taking less risk if they employed uneducated tutors.

Nogbad said...

Uneducated tutors who will declare their income - looks like another coherent part of Blair's education policy :-)

Rob Spence said...

I'd be happy to support a crackdown on home tutors when the government insist that all pumbers, joiners, etc can be paid only by cheque or credit card, thus ensuring their income is taxable.

Morning-Loves-It said...

Although I'm not an educator my feelings for the Inland Revenue and their attitude towards the small business person is the same as your feelings. Particularly the 'legal' tax evasion by corporates who can afford to pay experts huge amounts in order to 'avoid' paying as much IT as possible.

Unfortunately, once they get a bee in their bonnets about any section such as tutors not declaring then they won't let go. Easier to target the 'small-person' then go for the big-boys.