Now It’s Your Turn: Tax On Giving

Not a day goes by without the Tories mucking something up.  I didn’t want to start the week off on a sour note, so I opted to save this post for Tory Tuesday. After all that’s transpired in past weeks, what with causing panic over petrol, imposing a tax on pasties, increasing the rate on Air Passenger Duty, one thing is evident, this government loves its taxes.  They tax the poor, middle-class, and now the super rich, by way of their charitable donations.

As part of an attack on ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ George Osborne announced a limit on the amount of tax relief that wealthy donors could receive in respect of large donations. The tax would result in a substantial cut in the amount that philanthropists can claim back if they donated more than £200,000.  In other words, it would cost them far more to give the same sums to charitable causes.

UK charity leaders are worried that the tax might discourage charitable giving from big donors. However, the first thought that came to mind was if you donate money solely based on the tax-deductibility aspect are you really a philanthropist? I guess who cares so long as charities are getting the money they need to help people. Giving £250k+ is obviously a lot of money but if you could afford this, surely your tax-deduction is minor compared to the pleasure of giving to worthy causes.

That said, I could see the argument going the other way. Perhaps some donors enjoy giving because they genuinely enjoy helping others but aren’t rich enough to shoulder more than a set sum.  And who’s to dictate how one should use their money? Certainly not the government!

Just as those who take advantage of benefits (when clearly they could and should be working and contributing to society) and spend our tax money on fancy mobile phones and drinks down the pub, in the end, big donors should be able to take that extra money they get back and give it to another charity or invest the money to make more money (to give to another worthy cause)!  Right. I know that’s not how the world works but I have a feeling that the government is taking this whole austerity Britain thing a bit too far.  Have they even thought about the consequences before making such bold tax decisions?

Troubled Nation: Petrol, Stamps, Pasties

This week the nation braced itself for a false fuel-shortage due to rumours of tanker drivers going on strike.  Panic-buying ended up causing traffic jams and fights among those queuing for petrol.  Around the same time came the announcement that there would be a 30% rise in the cost of first-class stamps, from 46p to 60p, as well as a 39% rise for second-class, from 30 April.  As a letter writer, I have one word for that. Rubbish! And then came the triple whammy of a proposed 20% VAT on hot takeaway food items, where the debate on the tax somehow catapulted into a ‘Pastygate’ scandal.

Does it matter if George Osborne can’t remember the last time he had a Cornish pasty or whether or not David Cameron has ever eaten one?  On the surface, the obvious answer to these questions is ‘of course not’!  But it does matter that Cameron blatantly lied to the country about having one, further adding to the ludicrous debates centering on the humble meat pie.  Oh, the lies!

I’m not going to sit here and make false claims about how much I love a Cornish pasty.  Don’t get me wrong, they do make for a tasty snack.  Truth is, the last pasty I had was ages ago in Canterbury from the West Cornwall Pasty Co.  Piping hot. Premium quality.  Ah, but what if I get one now and it’s only lukewarm? Is that lukewarm pasty VAT-able? According to the new change, “all food (with the exception of freshly baked bread) that is above ambient temperature when provided to the customer is standard [VAT]-rated”.

Confused? I am!  What if I buy the pasty cold and have them heat it for me after I’ve purchased it? Does that help me work around the new tax? All joking aside,  I am in strong opposition to such taxes, as it affects a lot of hardworking people struggling to put bread on the table.  That is the underlying point of all these debates right?  Yet the Conservative crew seem to have turned it into a (failed) PR stunt and now the nation seems to be more frustrated than ever.  I pray this doesn’t spell riots, although I wouldn’t be surprised if this all led up to future premise for some version of the Hunger Games.  *Shudder*