L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

15 October 2006 Blog Home : October 2006 : Permalink

The Teflon Taxman

Back in 1966 the Beatles had a song called "Taxman" with some great lyrics including:
If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman
And you're working for no one but me.
Not a great deal seems to have changed in 40 years, except that things have, if anything, got worse. In the UK the taxman is not only able to tax almost anything he feels like, if he makes a mistake then he isn't liable for any damage this causes. This was higlighted in the recent Neil Martin case where Mr Martin saw his business driven into bankruptcy because the tax folks couldn't give him the documentation he required to conduct his business legally. But it gets worse. He has just released a Press Release showing that the Revenue maanged to repeat this process with his newer company:

The agency called in their account with Neil Martin Limited and this business was forced to cease trading. The Martin Group was then established by Neil Martin. When it applied for a CIS certificate in 2002, the Revenue suffered what was later described as “technical problems” and the picture on the CIS certificate was blacked out. This lead to problems with clients who could not make payments, because the identification of Neil Martin could not be referenced to the CIS certificate.

The Revenue then took four months to replace the CIS certificate with a clear one. Against all odds, the business managed to trade until a fresh application had to be made for a new certificate in 2003.

Because of the catalogue of past Revenue disasters, Mr Martin delivered his form to the Revenue in person and obtained a signature from a member of the Revenue staff confirming receipt of his application. Not surprisingly, given the past history, this application form was lost by the Revenue within their own internal postal system and Neil Martin was forced to submit a further three application forms, each of which were also lost by the Revenue.

When it was almost too late these forms came to light and CIS certificates were then processed. On this occasion the time delay from submitting the first application form until the receipt of the CIS certificate was not 52 days, but a staggering 76 days from start to finish.[...] The business could not survive this and it was closed with losses of over £250,000.00.

However, lest anyone claim that HMRC were incompetant insensitive scumbags they did investigate this series of cockups:

An inquiry was set up by the Revenue in 2004. Neil Martin received an “official apology” and he was offered compensation payment of £55.00.

Wonderful. I hope Mr Martin sets up again only this time he avoids HMRC and co and employs a load of Polish builders paid in used fivers.

And for those of you who like big government and schemes like the ID card, consider what the government's likely response will be when one of their civil servants or contractors flogs your ID data to some crimnals who then clean out all your accounts and sell your house from under you. With inflation you might get a massive £60...

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin