Musings of a tax enthusiast

Written on 22 April 2013

“Tell me a joke”… the phrase that causes us to momentarily forget every joke that has ever made us smirk, giggle or raucously laugh.  Whilst we are all familiar to this situation, I recently became reacquainted with the feeling when I was asked to write a brief blog about ‘something tax related’.

Firstly, I forgot everything I knew about tax.  This period only lasted for a few minutes during which I received no phone calls or e-mails, so thankfully, nobody noticed.

Blamed on a momentary lapse in concentration (thankfully, or there may have been some stern career conversations to be had from the powers that be) the tax knowledge soon returned but I was still left with an empty, blank page, as expressionless as my face.

What on earth can I write about that relates to tax that people would want to read, for not all are quite as enthusiastic about tax as myself.

I then took a moment to ponder on this thought, as I reflected on recent social situations, where I recalled more and more conversations about tax. Was this because my friends have finally given in to the fact I may never entertain them with a more stimulating conversation, or could the cause perhaps be the ever growing number of articles that have been published in the recent media?

Boo Jimmy Carr or boycott Starbucks, these are all news headlines that we are familiar with now that the government has made it quite obvious that we should now structure our tax planning, not just in a cost effective way, but also in a morally righteous way.

As a tax adviser, I have in recent weeks experienced more queries with regards to whether legitimate tax planning techniques may surmount to tax avoidance. Whilst I am always happy to advise on such matters, is the message the media is promoting with regards to morally repugnant tax matters having the correct effect?

Could there be the possibility that people are neglecting structured (and morally sound) tax planning techniques from the fear of the name-and-shame cannon hidden away in HMRC’s arsenal? Probably. Could there also be more individuals who may now seek tax advice in order to ensure their affairs are socially accepted? Hopefully.

Time will inevitably tell how the public at large will respond, but until then I will enjoy the moments in which I can enjoy both a beer, and a topical tax chat.