It could be time to boost the money we earn from the landby Philip Collins / June 19, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
Tax collectors have not always been portrayed favourably
The most important piece of legislation this year was not contained in the Queen’s Speech. It was passed on 5th April when the application for a mandate to renew income tax was raised in parliament. Income tax, which was first levied in 1799 to raise funds for the Napoleonic Wars, is, strictly speaking, temporary to this day. The government has to pass an annual Finance Act to make income tax legal again.
This oddity contains a message. Tax will never be popular and income tax especially so. There is something about the taxing of income which has always been resisted. There have been periods when the entire political conversation seems to have turned on whether it was, or was not, possible to increase (or for a Conservative, cut) the top rate of income tax. To understand why, it is important to heed what Albert Einstein said on filing tax returns: “This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher.”