Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Tax Bill from Old Labour

That Chancellor Gordon Brown is reverting to Labor’s previous “tax the rich” form is no surprise, but his choice of targets is odd. As Locus Magazine reports in the July edition (content not on-line), British writers are alarmed by news that: “the British Treasury announced plans to collect taxes on the percentage of earnings paid to agents, which are regularly written off as business expenses.” They quote a source in the Chancellor’s office saying: “The Revenue believes that the law only allows actors, singers, musicians, and dancers to claim that agents are a necessary business expense.”

According to the BBC, Inland Revenue has already lost the first legal challenge in a court battle with Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan (a British version of Regis Philbin and Happy Kelly), who successfully argued their shtick was sufficiently “theatrical” in nature. However, according to the Beeb: “Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxson, John Humphreys on Mastermind, newsreaders and weather forecasters do not meet the criteria.”

Sounds like good times ahead for the Conservatives. Forget about Blair buddying up with Bush. There’s nothing like a visit from Inland Revenue to alienate Labor’s traditional allies in the media and literary circles.