Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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Tax – Nothing has changed

Tax – Nothing has changed

Hardly a day passes without someone complaining about the Tax Man demanding money with menaces – Ken Frost has enough material to run a blog solely devoted to their incompetence.  His latest post opens with this:

The TaxFaculty has urged people not to be afraid to complain to HMRC about problems, and goes on to advise that people should also raise issues concerning HMRC with their MP as well

Having spent some time today going through old documents that were in my late fathers briefcase, I discovered a short letter he wrote nearly 40 years ago which shows they were just as bad then:

Letter to HM Inspector of Taxes

You’ll have to excuse the poor quality, but this was scanned from a  carbon copy – remember them? Youngsters who have grown up with word processors, spell checkers and printers, to say nothing of email, would have a fit if they had to assemble several sheets of writing paper interspersed with carbon paper and try and feed it all into a typewriter without the whole lot getting out of step. Make a single misteak mistake and you had to either overtype or strike through it and type the correct text next to it,  or start all over again!

I digress – once you’ve got over the notion of “Bank Interest” – whether the tax man’s version, or the real one, and the realisation that having only £15.80 in your bank account was actually a pretty serious problem, you’ll see that the bastards were just as greedy back then as now. I particularly liked fathers reference to “sheep”, the very word frequently used to describe the millions of people who pay up without complaint. Sadly I have no idea what the outcome of this situation was, I don’t remember seeing a reply, let alone an apology.

HMRC Tax doesn't have to be taxing

I also can’t remember what the government of the day was pissing away our money on. Note that this was only a short time after “Grocer Heath” had lied his way into signing us up with the EU (except we didn’t know it at the time). Would there have been a “blank cheque” on offer if the Ukraine had imploded? – well obviously not, because the Iron Curtain was still in existence. But supposing some other country, we weren’t responsible for, held out the begging bowl – would our “leaders” have been so unconcerned about giving away other peoples money? I honestly can’t remember, as 1) we didn’t have the internet and computers to give us the truth, and 2) everyday life was more affected by the latest walkout called by all powerful union bosses.

As an aside, it’s quite an eye opener when you look through old documents like that – most of them were still quoting pounds, shillings and pence (and the odd halfpenny). I also discovered that father paid the princely sum of £4,700 for the 3 bedroom semi-detached house I am sitting in right now, and the solicitors fees came to just under £70! He was also renting out his late mothers 2 bedroom terrace house for £45 per month… And I found this:

Electric Cooking ~ 1971

£90 for a cooker might seem quite reasonable, until you consider the relative value of the house compared to now.




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  1. Sarcasm & cynicism are inherited traits, I notice. ;-)

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  2. Fascinating, MD. I would also quietly observe that the apple never falls far from the tree! Your father sounds rather like my step-father, always entertaining and never bending the knee to the buggers in HMG or their loathsome spotted acolytes.

    In 1976 I seem to remember getting a pay rise every three months just to keep pace with inflation which topped out at 26-27% as I recall. That unfortunate lump Denis Healey was getting it in the neck (Chancellor of the Exchequer to Harold Wilson until Wilson resigned for any reason except the stated one), had to bend over the desk for the IMF and had to clear up after the money-printing initiated by the slug Heath and twat Tony Barber in the early ’70s.

    Old farts like me are not going to be in the least surprised when inflation begins its heady ascent once again. And it’ll be a tad more than 26% this time …

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    • It’s almost painful to look back at the 70s – economic slump and stagflation notwithstanding – and recall how one could hop from one well-paid job to the next with gay abandon and with no references or CVs needed – and cop a decent pay rise every time!
      I say “painful” from the PoV of the youngsters today, who cannot even imagine how free we were back then. They’re the biggest losers of all; at least we old ‘uns have got some good years to look back on before the treachery and treason got seriously underway and fucked the country all to hell.

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  3. “Self cleaning ovens” – my arse! Has there ever been such a thing?? :-D

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  4. Ah yes, 1976 I started work at £29.98 per week…

    i remember the nightmare of single-finger typewriting and hoping beyond hope that you wouldn’t make a mistake right at the end!

    My Mum had a cooker like that Belling too – I never understood why the controls were above all the boiling pans (and chip pan – full of lard of course) on the hob…

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