Taxation & Tax reform Archives - Page 4 of 5 - Emile Woolf writes

Axing the quangos and reforming the tax structure – both are needed

The proliferation of quangos under the previous administration contributed hugely to the deficit that has all but crippled public finances in the UK. Funded out of taxes, they were launched without reference to any democratic process, often in the wake of pointless Whitehall requirements or EU directives. The rash of self-important job creation that gripped […]

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Tax and accounting are the drivers: but where are they taking us?

Purists maintain that accounting and taxation should be neutral in terms of economic impact. Decision-making should be based on what’s good for the business – for its customers, staff and shareholders – without distortion by complex tax and accounting rules. But we have strayed: there is scarcely a decision untainted by daunting tax or accounting […]

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Reduce the deficit? Then reduce waste in public finances

The question of public sector finances has descended into an irrational bunfight. Watch the “contestants” hurl abuse at each other on “Question Time”. Last month I was invited by Eddie Mair of Radio 4’s PM programme to comment on the level of senior salaries in the public sector. My observation that taxes raised from the […]

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Paying for infrastructure – learning from others

The economics of infrastructure funding is a fascinating subject, particularly when we observe how it varies from one country to another. How to select projects from the dozens that compete for public favour? By what criteria are they deemed worthwhile and prioritized? And, most critically, how are those selected to be financed? On my travels […]

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Hong Kong and China: reconciling the economic incongruities

Having been writing, seemingly forever, on professional matters and wider economic issues, it’s time for a refreshing break – for me at least. I am writing on the high seas, visiting many fascinating places – Guam, Papua New Guinea, the Great Barrier Reef. But the most intriguing are Hong Kong and China. I shall say […]

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Behind the words, public sector waste lies hidden

Whose analyses, explanations or remedies can you trust? One of the most valuable insights to be gleaned from a pukka crisis is how inexpert the experts are. It was Irving Fisher, the great Professor of Economics at Yale University, who declared: “Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” He said that […]

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Economic and accounting theory provide no answers if they ignore reality

If ever there was a time for questioning, this is it. How did the collapse of credit and its ensuing crisis creep up so suddenly on the most sophisticated, best informed, global financial community in history? What are its lessons? Do all the frantic short-term expedients provide real solutions? Or will they generate their own […]

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The cycle of litigation – be warned

Litigation warning – remember the cycle!  The pattern of litigation tends to be cyclical since it shadows the economic cycle. When there is general prosperity and businesses flourish there is still plenty of litigation (when is there not?) but its character reflects boom-time activity. Businesses buy other businesses and then claim that they overpaid. Although […]

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Bring back “substance over form” to overcome this accounting farce

When “true and fair” accounts disclose either favourable results that are factually unsupportable, or a position much worse than warranted due to an “accounting quirk”, with no bearing on actual performance, we are bound to wonder what is going on. Arbitrary losses may arise when a business is forced to separate its foreign exchange credits […]

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Public finances: tax rises are not the answer

Promises, promises….. New Labour’s pledges in three elections running included a commitment not to raise taxes. All three manifestos declared: “There will be no return to the penal tax rates that existed under Labour and Conservative governments in the 1970s. To encourage work and reward effort, we are pledged not to raise the basic or […]

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