We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

Hartnett wants the citizenry to stop giving cash to their cleaners, gardeners, and to small tradesmen and other potential tax cheats and economic criminals so that they can no longer avoid paying taxes. Hartnett’s vision of Britain is a society of snoops and denunciators. “Households have a duty to ensure that other people do not evade paying their share of tax. The people who are worried about it should use our whistle-blowing line to tell us. We are getting better and better at finding people who receive cash.” Nice touch. A tinge of the former GDR’s Stasi culture for the British way of life?

Detlev Schlichter

11 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Mr Ecks

    HMRC isn’t even getting better at finding its own backside, never mind tracing cash.Most of the small offices they had locally have gone and more are going. You can’t run snooping from large cities tens or hundreds of miles away. Their blowhard bluffing is already being called.

    Hartnett is a useless s***e.

  • steve

    In the U.S, they seem to be intentionally driving the average person to cash. You are supposed to pay social security and FICA on your nanny’s wages. Even people who are all for the nanny state pay in cash simply because the paper work is daunting.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Gee, shades of Greece here! First you stop paying small taxes, then it seems O.K. to not pay other taxes, then people copy you, and nobody pays taxes- whilst everybody still wants the same government services!
    As a libertarian, I’m all for not paying taxes, so long as you don’t use any government services, either.

  • K

    I’m all for not paying taxes, so long as you don’t use any government services, either.

    The quickest way to reform the nanny/redistributionist police state is to bankrupt it. Not paying taxes and using as much government service as possible is therefore a moral imperative. : )

  • I’m with “K” – The state will not listen to the genuine concerns of the majority who work and pay their taxes that they are being crippled by the high cost of living, high council tax and high imcome tax+NI.

    They see civil servants like David Hartnett, but also pretty junior ranking paper pushers retiring in their 50’s and early 60’s with gold encrusted pensions that even quite well paid people couldn’t even dream of in a million years.

    These are the silent majority and I am quite glad they are helping themselves and others to evade (not avoid) taxes where possible. This is the only way to bring the state to heal – “To Starve the Beast”.

    As ‘Nuke’ Gray says, shades of Greece, first you ignore the little taxes and then you start ignoring the bigger taxes.

    With the closure of their local offices and the move to call centre-type operations, HMRC has destroyed the very thing that might have held back the expansion of the ‘Shadow Economy’ (i.e. non-taxed unregistered working) as they have destroyed their source of local, on-the-ground knowledge.

    In the good old days, a tax inspector used to have a local patch and used to know where to look for unregistered businesses in the backstreets and small industrial estates (unregistered car mechanics being a speciality).

    You cannot do this from a regional call centre, or rather the costs for doing so are prohibitive and the information is often out-of-date, meaning by the time someone comes to investigate, these fly-by-night operators are long gone.

    I am extremely happy that this is happening as it may will be the turning of the tide against state oppression. However, my concern is that the state will fightback (as other governments have done) by using the tactics of anti-terrorist security theatre legislation, primarily the money laundering and asset siezure laws to effectively confiscate cash and other monetary assets (like gold).

    I keep wondering when the grumbling will turn to open rebellion and how far this government will resort to police state tactics to keep people in line.

    Glad I left…

  • It does sound a bit like the TV licensing school of trying to sound scary when you really aren’t, yes.

  • Laird

    “The quickest way to reform the nanny/redistributionist police state is to bankrupt it. Not paying taxes and using as much government service as possible is therefore a moral imperative.”

    Which, of course, was precisely the point of the Cloward-Piven Strategy, although their goals were quite the opposite (more State, not less). We could learn a lot from them, and from Saul Alinsky.

  • @Laird:

    Strangely enough “Starve the Beast” has been an explicit strategy of US conservatives since the Stagflation period of the early 1970’s.


    However, as has been shown recently, this strategy has backfired because instead of reduced tax income leading to reduced spending in what is (for conservatives at least) a virtuous circle, the US has filled the gap between income and outgoings (the deficit) by selling ever increasing amounts of debt.

    This is part of the reason why we are in the mess that we are in today. The US politicians (of all parties) are effectively using US debt issues to kick the problem down the road rather than deal with the fundamental issue (i.e. insolvency of the US government).

    In truth, I am not sure where we go from here as all points seem to lead to either hyperinflation or default, neither of which are positive outcomes as Detlev Schlichter has pointed out already.

    The last thing that the US politicians want to do is bankrupt the country that they are depending on, but given their incompetence, it’s at the bottom of the list of things that they are working on and every day gets closer.


  • John K

    I’d be more prepared to listen to the appalling Hartnett if he wasn’t the man who cut sweetheart deals with the likes of Goldman Sachs, saving them millions in tax that the peons would have had to pay. Apparently he signed off on the Goldman deal after they bought him his supper. Must have been a bloody good meal. But the man who cost the Treasury millions for the price of a spot of dinner now thinks he can crack down on the little people who have the temerity to use cash. The phrase “go fuck yourself” springs almost effortlessly to mind. Just do it, Dave.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Monti (the person imposed as Prime Minister of Italy by an E.U. ordered disguised coup) is engaged in massive “tax crackdown”.

    There have been many over the years in Italy – but this is something new. Small family owned business enterprises are being persecuted to destruction.

    It will not, in the end, get the govenrment more revenue – still less “save the Welfare State” (the Italian Welfare State is unsustainable), but it will concentrate economic life in the hands of large corporation.

    I have nothing against the CONCEPT of a corporporation – but what is happening in Italy is vile.

  • Dave Walker

    Ever since businesses began to stop accepting cheques as payment – and the ensuing initiatives to phase cheques out – I’ve been wondering whether this was simlpy an acceptance-test trial for the next intended stage, involving phasing out cash. It’s clearly in a Government’s interests for all financial transactions to be auditable, even though it creates all manner of problems for everyone else.