Why I love paying tax
Every time I write out a gigantic cheque to the Inland Revenue, I get a bit excited. Woooo! I go. What a seriously grown-up thing to be doing! It’s like drinking whisky, buying an engagement ring or chopping down a tree... On this basis alone, I find it exhilarating. I kind of want it to hurt a bit. I feel like The Joker facing down Batman: “Come on — stick National Insurance on top of it! I can handle it! VAT me! VAT ME!”
But you know what would, in a single stroke, make tax-paying much more popular in this country?
A receipt. After all, whenever I’ve just blown £227 in Waitrose and feel a bit alarmed by it, it’s oddly comforting to read through the receipt and say to myself, “but at least I have a lot of yoghurt now”. Similar comfort would be experienced by the taxpayer if, in exchange for a large cheque, one was simply issued with a print-out of what you’d just bought yourself: £2,000 for the NHS, £600 for streetlights, £2 for Prince Andrew, etc.
And of course, once you’ve got a receipt, it’s much easier to claim a refund . . .
On that I can agree, if we could see what we were buying there would be a queue round the block to the refund counter.