For all the anticipation, last week’s revelation by Prime Minister Theresa May that the UK is headed for a “hard Brexit” wasn’t quite the seismic shock it perhaps should have been. People have had so long to ruminate on all the myriad possibilities for the UK’s post-Brexit relations with the EU that most have concluded that if out is to truly mean out, then hard Brexit it has to be. But at least we know now.
As the EU’s most influential figures have been insisting for the last six months, membership of the Single Market and the “four freedoms” that go with it are indivisible: you can’t have one without the others. Otherwise, it would be a double market, or a triple, or a quadruple market, which defeats the whole purpose of the thing. It became fairly obvious early on that … Read More »
To give Rudyard Kipling’s immortal words a 21st century spin, if you can keep your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, you have something in common with Theresa May, the British Prime Minister.
For sure, if reports are to be believed, there is some bungling afoot surrounding how the British Government appears to be handling Brexit – if there is a plan, it sure is keeping its cards squeezed tightly to its chest. I suppose May does deserve some credit for keeping her cool while tasked with arguably the UK’s biggest challenge since de-colonization.
But maybe May has been keeping abreast of recent tax developments and seen the recent news that, despite the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, Snapchat has chosen to establish its non-US base in London. The announcement comes hot on the heels of … Read More »
Whether you believe the White House’s claim that the tax policies of the President Barack Obama administration ”saved” the US economy or not depends on which side of the political fence you stand. It would be harder, however, to argue in favor of any assertion that the tax code improved under the Obama’s leadership. It is difficult to measure or quantify such things in a simple way, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of taxpayers would say that, at best, the US tax code is just a complex now as when President Obama was sworn in eight years ago. Most would probably reply that the situation has deteriorated.
One of the reasons why the code was left to fester under Obama was that he was, for the most part, at odds with Congress on the matter. But Treasury Secretary Jack Lew … Read More »
Things can get very complicated very quickly when governments start introducing multiple VAT rates and exemptions and try to pick winners with the VAT system. And unless VAT legislation is watertight and drafted in such a way that it is not open to interpretations, all sorts of absurdities can ensue.
The United Kingdom, in particular, has history in this area. In the UK, food is generally zero-rated, but some foods are “luxuries” or are considered “catering” and subject to the standard rate. So, in the not-too-distant past, we have seen long-running battles between HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and taxpayers over the classification of teacakes (a cake or a biscuit?), Pringles (a potato chip or not a potato chip?) and pasties (hot takeout food, or merely “food”?).
More recently, HMRC was forced to issue a whole brief for publishing houses, wholesalers and … Read More »