You are paying much more in tax than you think you are
What Everyone Needs to Know About Tax takes an entertaining and informative look at the UK tax system in all its glory to show you just how much you pay, how the money is collected and how it affects ordinary people every day. Giving context to recent controversies including the Panama Papers, tax avoidance by multinationals, Brexit and more, this book provides a straightforward explanation of tax and the policy behind it for non-specialists no accounting or legal knowledge is required. The system's underlying logic is illustrated through three 'golden rules' that explain many of the UK tax regime's oddities, and the discussion focuses on the way things are rather than utopian ideas about how they might be. Case studies show how the VAT on a plumber's bill all adds up; why fraudsters made a movie to throw HMRC off their scent; how a wealthy couple can pay so little tax on a six-figure income; and the way tracing the money you paid for your iPad sheds light why the EU is demanding Apple pay billions extra in tax.
Ever the political battlefield, tax is too important for you to rely on media hype for information. It affects everyone, every day, and it pays for voters and taxpayers to know more. This book leaves aside technical detail and the arcana of the tax code to give you a real-world look at how tax works.
Learn about the many ways that the tax system separates us from our money
Discover how Brexit could change the way we pay taxes
Understand how changing tax policy affects people's everyday lives
See through the rhetoric surrounding controversies in the media
With tax, we have to admit that there are no easy answers. No one enjoys paying them, but without them, the Government would shut down. Seeing through politicians' cant and superficial press coverage is critical for your ability to make the decisions that benefit you; What Everyone Needs to Know About Tax gives you the background and foundational knowledge you need to be a well-informed taxpayer.
JAMES HANNAM, PHD, has spent twenty years advising clients on every aspect of the UK tax regime while working for firms including EY, Freshfields, and KPMG.
About the author xi Introduction xiii 1 Taxes on your income and earnings 1 Income tax and national insurance 1 National insurance contributions 3 Paying tax 7 Taxes on high earners 10 The Laffer curve 13 Sports, prizes and betting 16 With betting, the tax inspector always wins 18 The poverty trap 20 2 Taxes on what you spend 23 Value added tax 23 How VAT works 27 Zero rated and exempt from VAT 30 Europe, Brexit and VAT 32 Customs and excise 34 Excise duties 36 Fuel duty and green taxes 41 Oil and gas extraction 44 Green taxes 45 Global warming 47 3 Taxes on what you own 51 Capital gains tax 51 Paying capital gains tax 54 Taxes on homes and property 56 Inheritance tax 57 Stamp duty land tax 59 Council tax 62 Buy to let 63 The mansion tax and wealth taxes 65 Taxes on pensions and saving 67 Other ways to save 71 How to live comfortably while paying almost no tax at all 72 4 Taxes on business 77 Taxing business 77 Tax on the self ]employed and small businesses 78 Tax on companies 79 Personal service companies 81 The tradesman s entrance 84 Multinationals and international tax 86 Territorial taxes 88 Tax havens 90 A bit of BEPS 91 Where does big business make its profits? 93 Tax competition 97 Taxing what you can t touch 99 Taxes on financial transactions 103 5 Taxes evaded, avoided and reformed 107 Film finance: how governments encourage planning, avoidance and evasion 107 Tax evasion 113 Tax avoidance and the general anti ]abuse rule 117 A changing climate 119 Avoiding income tax 122 The new fight against aggressive avoidance 124 Tax planning 126 Tax reform 128 1. Stop cutting income tax and start cutting national insurance 130 2. Start the 45% tax rate at GBP100,000 instead of GBP150,000 130 3. Tax companies according to their accounting profits 130 4. Expand the scope of VAT 131 5. Introduce a minimum income tax rate for the wealthy while abolishing most income tax anti -avoidance rules and incentives 131 Conclusion: the Three Golden Rules of tax 133 The First Golden Rule: Lots of small taxes together add up to make big tax bills 133 The Second Golden Rule: No matter what name is on the bill, all taxes are ultimately suffered by human beings 134 The Third Golden Rule: Taxes are kept as invisible as possible 135 Index 139