One day more

  Of all the hackneyed aphorisms that grate on my undertaxed mind, that one about nothing being certain except death and taxes has got to be prime candidate for the next cull of the English language. So, I was both irritated and fascinated when it was brought to my attention that Monday last week was…

How right is the price?

  The trouble with studying for an Economics degree was that every Tom, Dick and Maths geek relegated the perceived syllabus to three years of reading the Economist and watching the Money Programme. They reckoned they understood everything much better than I did, while (they thought) I had no idea how to prove zero (they…

Trust the taxman?

  My first suspicion that authority wasn’t all it was cracked up to be was at the age of 10, when I saw Lionel Bart’s newly released Oliver! Between the catchy numbers and faux-dirty actors there were two clear messages – the inhumanity of the workhouse system and Mr Bumble’s ‘The law is a ass,…

Those lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer

The annual silly season is upon us, when the media inundates an unsuspecting public with frivolous news stories to replace the serious ones about Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and the Women’s Soccer World Cup. I was tempted to join in, but the international tax field has been awash with important updates over the last month.…

An actor walks into a Bar

At Penguin Books’ 1960 obscenity trial in the matter of DH Lawrence’s steamy novel ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, the prosecuting counsel famously asked the jury of randomly picked men and women, ‘Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?’ The jury found in favor of the publishers, and…

Fair fight?

Underdog Andy Ruiz's technical knock-out of world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in their fight on June 2 was one of sporting history's great surprises. Similarly, civil court cases against the tax authorities are rarely won by the underdog, generally ending with a knock-out - technical or otherwise - of the assessee. There was an exception…

Who stole the punch line?

I am rarely amused by the pronouncements of the Israeli tax authority - au contraire, they often rile me. But, last week a public ruling had the effect of diverting my mind to the comedy double acts that had their origins in America's Vaudeville and Britain's Music Halls. Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Morecambe…

Watch this space

The proud boast of the John Lewis Partnership Department Store chain, 'Never knowingly undersold since 1925', is less than impressive when compared with Switzerland's record on international tax. It has never been knowlingly undersold since at least 1872 when one of its cantons signed the world's first every double taxation treaty. I thought of Switzerland when…

The Celtic Tiger changes its stripes

The biggest debunker of conspiracy theories has to be what the British call 'the thirty year rule'  for the declassification of secret documents. It is not that the released documents reveal the truth (the really juicy ones are locked up for far longer); it is, rather, the realization that the behind-the-scenes machinations of government way…

Double Dutch

Back in the days when there were twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to a pound, there was an urban myth of a retired Maths teacher who runs into his worst student as the latter climbs out of a Rolls Royce. The younger man embraces his old nemesis, proceeds to thank him for…