Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Tax: We're all in this together (except those that know the loopholes)

Artful Dodger: George Osborne Picture: 38 Degrees
By Dan Morris

I've lived a very naive 21-year existence as far as tax is concerned. Ducking and diving my way out of paying any by holding down a weekend job and squeezing every last ounce out of the education system. 

To me tax was something the general public, with proper jobs paid to fund my student alcohol addiction and fetish for dressing up as a smurf. 

I thought the day I'd actually have to contribute my bit to the economy would never come and until the summer I thought base rate was a psychological study, not some sort of code that roughly translates to a 20 per cent deduction in my wages. How wrong was I.

Every month my pitiful wage is slashed by a man as mysterious as Santa Clause - the taxman. I have no say in the matter and it's very quickly become a fact of life.

Tax is actually quite an important economic factor, even I know that. And now my time has come, I don’t like paying it, but it’s just something I have to do. I’m playing my part – the last thing I’d want to be known as is a tax dodger. No one likes a tax dodger.

It was recently brought to my attention, by a certain Duncan Bannatyne, that the owner of Harrods, avoids paying tax. Yes, that's right, the owner of the world’s most expensive department store - no wonder he's so rich. 

I believe Ken Bates, owner of Leeds United Football Club, also falls into this category along with a host of other public figures. It beggars belief that this is in fact legal, but apparently it is. 

How? Well pull up a seat and I'll tell you: 

Establishing residence in a low or nil tax jurisdiction is one of the easiest ways to substantially reduce your taxes. Basing yourself in a tax haven means that you'll get the benefit of low or reduced taxes overseas.
Located on the stunning French Riviera there is probably no tax haven more famous than Monaco and just a selection of the high profile people that reside there are: Paula Radcliffe, Richards Farleigh (Dragons Den), David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Roger Moore, Ringo Starr and Ken Bates in Monaco.
Simply; there is no income tax or capital gains tax in Monaco -- the main tax is a business profits tax that is levied on certain companies (but most expats structure their affairs so as to avoid it).
The Treasury has announced a series of measures to clamp down on tax avoidance in the UK. But I can’t help but think this will fall by the wayside. Check this.
Tax dodging costs the UK up to £120 billion every year, it comes to something when the very man that could do something about it is dodging £1.6 million of tax himself.
Now i’m in it. I can’t help but feel a little violated by the ‘we’re all in this together’ rhetoric from the coalition government. Mr Osborne really, are we?
This government has put a lot of effort into catching ‘benefits cheats’, and almost none into catching tax cheats, despite the fact that tax dodging robs the treasury of 15 times more income than false benefits claims.

I'm struggling to find why this might be the case, but perhaps it has something to do with the fact some front-benchers, including George Osborne himself, may be benefitting from tax loopholes. We certainly know that several prominent Conservative peers have off-shored their taxes – all legal of course.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

One man, one envelope: What lies between England and the World Cup

Backing the bid: David Beckham . Picture Getty Images
Never has a day been so important to a nation.

Never has the congregation of 22 men been so significant.

Later today those very men will make a decision that will either transform a recession hit country or completely destroy any hopes it ever had.

Zurich is where the eyes of the world will be focused this afternoon.

David Beckham, David Cameron and Prince William can do no more. Together with the Football Association and the rest of the country they sit anxiously awaiting arguably the biggest decision in our sporting history.

For months, even years it's developed into something of a formality - it's our time.

Recent weeks have done their best to shatter that dream as stories of corruption have escalated to dizzy heights leaving the question on everyone's lips that of, what if?

Should we fail to win the bid, not only will it undermine the integrity of our home sport, but that of our Governing body.

It's time the sport we founded, nurtured and shared with the world to love and cherish, finally came home - if it doesn't our legacy will be in tatters.

From Plymouth to Newcastle, a nation would unite. 17 of the worlds finest stadiums would play host to 32 of the world's greatest teams. A spectacle like no other - and that's not to mention the boost to our economy.

Over the last 10 years no other footballing nation has ploughed more money into it's grassroots than ours. The power of a world cup would be invaluable to the epitome of the sports future development.

The carnival atmosphere at this summers competition in South Africa was like no other. Think of the party in 2018, if football finally came home.

We've plotted, we've pitched, we've canvased and we've pleaded. It's over to Zurich. One vote will define a decade gone-by and a decade to come.

This bid rests on one man, and one envelope and if FIFA president Sepp Blatter is to utter the infamous words we all want to hear, one man deserves a knighthood. In Beckham we trust, back the bid.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

The hahaha scale: Together we can defeat LOL

By Dan Morris

SAY someone tweets you, sends you a humorous text message or even writes an appealing status update, how do you respond? Please don’t tell me you write LOL.

It goes without saying that I am not the biggest fan of the phrase, in fact I despise it. Not only does it reminded me of the hours wasted, wallowing away on MSN messenger as an early teen but it’s clich├ęd, who actually means it when they use it?

Ok, so you are acknowledging that what you have read has humoured you in some way shape or form, but seriously are you laughing out loud – to yourself?

It’s overused and meaningless; I’ve witnessed people use it regarding the most serious of comments.

It lacks imagination and indicates a slender grasp on the English language.

Instead of writing LOL, I adopt what I like to call the hahaha scale.

Funny, sort of funny, not funny it has it covered: The hahaha scale

A scale which I will categorically predict you use, without even realising.

It’s a scale, albeit a trivial one, which is used to establish the necessary response to an interesting, entertaining, or downright hilarious instance – in fact it’s so versatile, it covers all eventualities.

The hahaha scale, concerns the necessary response to a particular occurrence, most will respond without even consulting the scale and hence its subconscious role within society.

It covers everything from a simple ha, to a full blown hahahahaha – each one has a meaning, you’ve just never given it the time of day.

There is without doubt a distinct difference between something that is actually funny, hahaha, and when you are just being sarcastic, ha.

For me LOL falls somewhere between, the actually funny marker and the mockingly funny, hahahahaha. It’s neither here nor there, no one quite knows what you mean and nor can they tell whether you’re being serious or not.

For these reasons alone it should never be used, despite the aforementioned.
Don’t get me wrong its cousins LMAO and ROTFL are far more nonsensical and none of which should be socially accepted – I defy anyone to actually, physically roll on the floor laughing, while continuing to type.

In a nutshell. Don’t use LOL, and next time you respond to a something with ha, check out the scale, I can assure you the comparisons will be uncanny.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

New mixtape now live: Commercial Dance Mix

 Commercial Dance Mix by iamdanmorris

The Royal PILF: His Royal Highness Prince William to marry Kate Middleton

Prince William and Kate Middleton announce their engagement Photo: PA

By Dan Morris

APPARENTLY today is quite a significant, historic moment, one that will forever be remembered, I’m told not because one has finally decided to delve deep into the realm of the blogosphere but because we now have a Royal PILF (Princess…)

Broken today was the news that Prince William – the future king of England – is to marry his long term girlfriend Kate Middleton, and it goes without saying she’s one of the more attractive members of the Royal family.

I can’t help but acknowledge the fact that His Royal Highness has done remarkably well for himself; I’m looking for reasons as to how?

It interests me as to whether or not Miss Middleton needed time to consider such a proposition, I’m thinking the prospect of becoming the Queen of England would take all of zero seconds to ponder.

What I can say is she is sure to brighten up a dull and let’s face it ageing Royal family, Miss Middleton will certainly breath a new lease of life into an otherwise uninteresting ancestry.

Despite having grown up post Diana, I’m still aware of the furore that surrounded the nations princess; I’m told she was quite a looker too (in her day of course).

Partly, what made her such a national treasure was her image, something aside from the stereotypical royal.

As with Diana, there was a time when it would have mattered that the future queen of England was a ‘commoner’ but it seems not anymore.

There’s something quite exciting about the fact Miss Middleton is the daughter of an air hostess– it’s the Diana chronicles all over again…

She’s just a normal girl from a normal family – in County Durham - albeit for a matter of months, because that is now destined to change.

Perhaps I’ve over estimated this whole event but even I know the significance of such an addition to such an iconic part of British society.

Possibly the most interesting thing about this whole occasion is how well people seem to know them. Especially for a couple who have, quite possibly, kept themselves out of the media spotlight remarkably well.

Over the next twelve months a nation will watch with bated breath as the most eagerly anticipated wedding to date is mapped out with a fine tooth-comb.

The most important thing about a wedding as grandiose as this one will be getting it right – after all the world’s eyes will be on it.

Questions that we’ll want answering are, when and where. For sure the wedding is set to take place in the capital but does William want to marry in the Abbey where his mother’s funeral took place? Or St Paul’s, where she wed.

Tradition expects and so too does a nation, For Sky News the day can’t come soon enough.

Is there a more fitting way to revive a recession-battered nation’s spirits than an extra day off work as the focal point of the worlds attention is feast upon a Royal Wedding – probably.