The Joy of Tax
If you were around in 1972 then you’ll probably remember The Joy of Sex by Dr Alex Comfort, quite a ground-breaking publication in its day. Nowadays, it seems, everybody’s at it: The Joy of Living, The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Sheds, The Joy of Not Working…
Joining this endless list of copycat titles is the recently published The Joy of Tax by chartered accountant Richard Murphy. His book promo says:
‘In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the world for the better.
‘Whilst we may not like tax very much, in contrast it is clear that we really do like the public services which governments provide. So much so, in fact, that for most of the last 300 years, people have been more than happy for governments to run deficits by spending more than they raise in taxation.
‘2008 apparently changed all that. The issues of debt, deficits, cuts and austerity have dominated the political agenda ever since. Virtually every aspect of the government’s finances and how to rearrange them in the forlorn hope of balancing the books has been discussed in great detail. Despite that, there has been almost no real discussion during this period about what tax is for and how it contributes to the creation of the society we aspire to.’
So I’ll have quite a spring in my step when I fill in my self-assessment this year.
The Joy of Tax is available from all good bookstores, as well as the naughty ones whose offshore tax-avoiding arrangements mean they pay practically no tax at all in the UK.