A taxing time, but worth it
For self-employed people in other parts of the country, this is an important weekend. They must file their tax returns by the end of September if they want the Revenue to work out how much they owe. Otherwise they ve got until the end of January to do it,
For self-employed people in other parts of the country, this is an important weekend. They must file their tax returns by the end of September if they want the Revenue to work out how much they owe. Otherwise they've got until the end of January to do it, but can incur penalties if they get their calculation wrong.
Different rules apply in Fenland. Many local tradespeople seem to work in what is officially called the Grey Economy, where cash is king and such things as receipts and tax returns are for wimps.
I gather one variation practised by some Fen business folk is to run two sets of books. One records actual turnover for their own information and the other contains just enough transactions to encourage their accountant to say, "Well, you may as well buy yourself a new van as hand it over to the tax man."
"No-one likes paying tax," we say. True enough. It would be nice to hang on to every penny we earn but we're not actually giving it away to a stranger. Our tax doesn't make the Government or Cambridgeshire County Council or even Fenland District Council rich.
We lend it them to pay for our roads, schools, hospitals, police, army and pensions. If we don't like the way they look after it, we have the chance every few years to elect a new set of people to decide how it should be spent.
When people tell me we shouldn't pay any income tax, I try to get them to tell me how things should be organised. Suppose a bus shelter needs repairing. Should we then all go round to Fenland Hall and decide whose turn it is to pull a few fivers from under the mattress?
- 1 Discount store expanding making it ‘bigger and better for customers’
- 2 Salesman Stephen who 'has a smile every day' marks 45 years at firm
- 3 Farmer ‘feeling low’ due to increasingly difficult working conditions
- 4 Jury deliberates in trial of driver accused of causing baby’s death
- 5 Painter who captured town before 1978 floods finishes 44 years on
- 6 Arson causes fire to rip through derelict building
- 7 Jury to go out in trial of driver accused of causing toddler's death
- 8 Police officer speaks out after violent assault left bleed on brain
- 9 Man and teenager jailed after carrying out ‘horrific’ homophobic attack
- 10 Two vehicles in ditches after crash on A141 between March and Guyhirn
We first paid tax to the Romans. In later centuries, we paid tax to the Danes, to monks and to Lady Godiva's husband. She stripped off when she thought he was demanding too much. Income tax was introduced in 1799 to pay for the war against Napoleon.
The last laugh is on the French though. Our highest rate may be 40 per cent: they pay a whopping 58 per cent. If you want to pay less, move to Russia. There it's only 13 per cent.