Friday, 26 January 2007

Tax Tax Tax

Only 3 business days left to file your self assessment tax return. Time for the annual panic and rising of blood pressure.

I have a degree in Maths and Economics from Cambridge university. I have worked in banking for 14 years, advising some of Europe's largest companies on huge deals. I am financially capable. I should not need to pay an accountant to fill in my tax return.

Every year out of complete obstinacy I decide to do it myself (and always put it off and put it off.)

Vicky Ford's return should not be a difficult one - there is not a mountain of money out there waiting to be declared. This year it consisted of a bonus left over from my old employer, bit of interest at the bank and a property that I rent out. It is not as if I am running a handful of different small businesses. SO WHY IS THE FORM SO COMPLICATED?

It has taken me 3 1/2 hours, two excel spreadsheets and five phone calls to the inland revenue for advice. They have had to call me back twice while they tried to look up the info I needed. Is it any wonder that the average person is deeply confused and the "black economy" of undeclared income is growing.

Last year I helped the tax reform commission look at what is wrong with Britain's tax system. The final report was excellent. Read it please. We wrote "Tax should, as far as possible, be clear, easy to understand, of certain application, easy to calculate and easy to collect".

One of the first priorities for the next Conservative government must be to reform taxes.

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