Millions to find out where their tax goes

/ 3 November 2014

Some 24m people will this week start to receive their Annual Tax Summary in what the government is calling “a revolution in transparency”. The summary will set out how much tax and National Insurance each person has paid as well as a breakdown of exactly how their tax has been spent by the government. Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Shabana Mahmood criticised the government’s tax policy and said: “Families and pensioners are paying more in higher VAT, but that tax isn’t part of these statements.” The TUC dismissed the summaries as “party political propaganda masquerading as neutral information”.

Source: BBC News

We fear this could backfire horribly. Firstly, it might be thought rather to be rubbing salt in the wound to remind us all exactly how much has been forcibly extracted from us. Some of us grit our teeth every January and July and then do our best to put the whole painful experience behind us as quickly as possible. And to be reminded not only of the ludicrously large amounts of tax we pay but also of the imaginative ways in which the government contrives to waste it might be construed not so much as a “revolution in transparency” as a self-imposed PR disaster. How much was someone paid to come up with this barking mad idea?