A good meeting today. a couple of projects to put together, both quick enough to be billed at the end of March and the cheques won't go in until April 6th.
Last year I paid my tax bill on time, by cheque, which they managed to screw up so my payment was considered 'late' and interest added. This year I paid online by debit card and... it's still not showing on the website and no Email receipt has appeared. Well, not this time, matey. This time I took the precaution of printing the webpage showing that the payment was accepted. You're not pretending it was overdue this year.
I was amused by the new section of the tax form that asks if you were involved in any tax avoidance shemes. This popped up after I told them how much I'd made this year and if they linked it to that number, it would be immediately clear that I'm not in the 'offshore account' league so they could have safely skipped it.
The reason they ask that question now is clear. There has been a perfectly legal tax avoidance scheme running for years. The tax office knew about it but couldn't do anything until government finally closed the loophole that allowed it. It's closed now so that scheme is no longer legal.
So, anyone using that scheme in the future would be fined. In accordance with Labour's Tardis Legislation System, anyone using it in the past - when it was legal - will also be fined. One businessman tried challenging it in court but no, the judge ruled that it's perfectly fair and reasonable to punish people for doing something that wasn't at all illegal when they did it.
So even though you're doing something legal now, if Labour decide to make it illegal in the future, you can be retrospectively punished. The Time Lords have nothing on these people. Whatever we do now can be ruled illegal at any point in the future and they'll send the boys round to sort us out. Well, unless you're an MP and have been on the fiddle. Then, making rule changes retrospective is 'unfair'.
There will be a few lurkers who will whisper the 'nothing to hide, nothing to fear' mantra but with this system, you don't know whether you have anything to hide. Perhaps driving a car will be made an arrestable offence backdated to 1910 and they'll dig up Herr Daimler and fine him. Perhaps flower arranging will carry the death penalty, backdated. Nobody has any idea what will next be deemed illegal and backdated. You, literally, could be next.
I'm okay this time. I've never made enough money to even consider a tax avoidance scheme so this one won't affect me.
But if they get around to banning smoking in the street and make it retrospective, they'll be coming for me. If they make the brewing of beer and wine illegal and retrospective, there'll be a lot more of us.
It is not possible to trust any administration that exercises this power. You might consider yourself living perfectly within the law, living a clean and wholesome life and behaving impeccably now but anything you are doing now - anything - can be made retrospectively illegal and off you go to the Big House.
Just imagine, for a moment, what a real fascist party could do with this. Is it really safe to have this on the books?
The Tories must put a stop to retrospective punishment if they want any trust from the public at all. Not on the first day. On the second.
On the first day, they should declare the Labour party illegal, retrospective to 1940, and fine every member of it for enough money to clear the current debt. That seems only fair.