Sunday, 19 August 2012

Frankly pathetic tax dodging

In my quest to buy locally produced goods sold by an independent retailer, I somehow found myself in Argos defying all my principles as panic had spread over me with people arriving while I had no BBQ tongs (there is an Argos just 2 mins walk from me). So, while sitting in the holding area waiting for the screen to tell me I had waited sufficiently long enough to be allowed to collect my spoils, I saw an advert encouraging people who are from non-EU countries to tell the shop staff in order to get VAT exemption on their purchases.

This tax avoidance scheme appears to be known as the Retail Export Scheme and is sanctioned by HM Revenue and Customs. This has the effect of allowing tourists to come to the country, use publicly funded services such as the roads while not paying for them. Perhaps we should encourage hotels to give them free board and lodgings too? Argos's promotion of the scheme is even more self serving: Buy your stuff from us so that we can make a profit and we'll help you avoid contributing to the government's coffers despite your use of the UK's services while you are here.

While I don't agree with VAT in principle as a resource and pollution based tax is a far better concept, allowing non-EU visitors an exemption is frankly pathetic.

And while on the frankly pathetic... Usain Bolt needs a mention. He was on Jonathan Ross last night - I refused to watch him given his frankly pathetic stance on paying tax. This is a man with an income estimated at £13m who thinks he is above the rest of us when it comes to paying his way. He may be a great runner and showman but if he doesn't want to pay tax then he can stay away.

1 comment:

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