Monday, January 3, 2011

Tax Buzz Blog review - 2010 and plans for 2011

As we move into the 4th year of this Tax blog I've revisited the 118 posts added in 2010 to check on the range of topics I've covered.

As in previous years many of the posts were inspired by tax related stories in the media.

If there's one consistent theme it is one of debunking myths and misconceptions about our tax system. Many of these are spread by partly informed journalists and commentators (online, on radio or on tv).

The other key areas covered by blog posts were much the same as in 2009 - with a heavy emphasis on tax avoidance, the prospects of a General Anti Avoidance Rule, HMRC Spotlights and tax amnesties.

I also highlighted a number of key lessons about the tax system drawn from decisions of the Courts and Tribunals, offered predictions and shared my view on various topical issues including tax issues specific to MPs (again).

Here are what I consider to be my top ten posts of 2010:

9 Nov: Many people may have paid the wrong tax - why is that? - One of 3 posts that debunk elements of the confusing Panorama report on the PAYE story about 6 million wrong tax codes.

26 Oct: The IoD needs to be careful what it wishes for re IR35 - An objective look at the rationale for the rules known as 'IR35'

4 Oct: "The taxman is happy with my return' - Sure? - Debunking the idea that your tax return has been agreed.

20 Sept: No - ISAs are not a form of tax avoidance - Debunking this myth once and for all

20 Sept: Doesn't everyone try to avoid or evade taxes? - Well, a large majority anyway. Let's stop the double standards.

1 Sept: Tax planning schemes - The latest in a series of posts that debunk the idea that 'abusive' schemes are attractive or worthwhile in the majority of cases.

1 June: CGT: Since when does an automatic relief constitute tax avoidance? - Debunking misleading press stories

21 March: Why did the BBC's Sian Williams' appeal get to the Tax Tribunal? - Debunking reports of this tax case

31 Jan: Is it ever morally acceptable to fiddle your tax form? (Radio4) - Debunking the biased reporting in the radio programme concerned.

29 Jan: Retrospective tax avoidance legislation ruled LEGAL - Highlighting the implications of a key decision by the Tax Tribunal

What can readers expect in 2011? Well, subject to a multitude of requests to the contrary, I see this blog evolving in 3 key ways:
  1. There will be fewer topics aimed directly at accountants. Most of these will instead appear on my blog for ambitious professionals (which I started in May 2006)
  2. Blog posts here will be shorter and with briefer commentaries.
  3. The main focus will be debunking tax stories in the mainstream media - online, on tv, on radio and in the press.
And if you're involved in social media at all, you'll notice that we've recently added the facility to share individual blog posts on twitter, linkedIn, facebook etc. This was in direct response to a request from a regular reader. I just hope he's not the only one to use them!

A similar, but more in depth, review last year also examined the original motivation and targets for this blog: Review of TaxBuzz blog 2009

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