89 posts • joined Thursday 19th August 2010 11:45 GMT
One thing the PAC haven't factored into the overall cost is the fact that HMRC had to rush their RTI implementation in order to meet the DWP's (now discredited) timetable. That in turn had knock on effects for every single employer in the country, not to mention payroll bureaux. And of course because HMRC had to rush something they'd been wanting to do for ages, it isn't as good as it should have been, but we're stuck with it now. So there's another cost to taxpayer and business of the botched UC project.
So that's who bought the tech then...
Electronic POS kit seems to be one big playground for the crims at the moment - use cash & they'll hide the takings from the tax man ( see http://www.oecd.org/ctp/crime/ElectronicSalesSuppression.pdf ) Use a card and they'll just rip the cash direct from your account - and the OECD report suggests that there'll be no shortage of willing recruits in eg the restaurant trade to give themselves a 'heads we win, tails you lose' attitude towards choice of payment method as well. Monday afternoon, and already I'm depressed and cynical about the nature of the world we live in. Thanks guys...
I'm sure you're right about the hardware/data motivation for thefts - outside of Hollywood, I can't really see thefts being based on the contents of the phone; it's going to be the resale value of an unlocked handset that motivates the average junkie. So if the means of unlocking changes, the pattern/method of thefts may change.
The worry of course is how they go about unlocking the handset, and that's what got me thinking. It may be that the gummi-bear solution works, but if that's the case then (as other commenters have pointed out) the NSA is going to be the least of any fanbois' worries once the shell of the phone is covered in their prints. However things turn out, the 5s is bound to sell at a premium, and that will in turn enhance the incentives to get hold of a saleable example, by hook or by crook.
Thanks also for taking the time to check on the Mercs story; glad to know I was only vaguely divorced from reality in my memories; I hadn't realised it was as long as 8 years ago... I'm slightly less thankful for you reminding me just how old I am :-)
Bricklayers often have problems with fingerprint recognition too - so no point them queuing up for the new iShiny then.
So does this mean muggers will now have a second use for the bolt-croppers they use on bike locks - taking the finger along with the phone? (Presumably there's scope to change the print that the phone recognises, so you wouldn't have to actually sell it with the original owner's digit once you'd reset the authentication)
IIRC there were some unpleasant incidents in Hong Kong when Mercedes brought out a fingerprint authenticated car, so while I'd hope things wouldn't go that far just for a phone, it does raise fears for how lowlifes might try to get around the tech...
Re: This is awesome!
"impromptu motorway sculpture"
Well thank you so much; now I'm going to have to dig a spare keyboard out of the cupboard.
Hmm - this comes out on Monday morning... I think I know what they spent Friday afternoon doing after they got back from the pub.
Dammit. I had _second_ week in September in the office sweepstake on the date they admitted it wasn't going to work.
"There were no mistakes like that at all."
The mistakes we made were in employing humans to do the work. We shan't be doing that again.
Re: 100% tax
Read Dickens on profit - "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery." Bring that back in spades for the business making a loss if you tax all income/turnover at a fixed percentage, instead of acknowledging that they don't even have enough cash to pay their own employees, let alone other peoples.
Not even gonna go there on the arguments about sector specific rates based on average profit margins; VATs used in the flat rate scheme (nearest current proxy) range from 4% to 14.5% [see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/start/schemes/flat-rate.htm#5 ] Administering that sort of thing as the sole form of business taxation in a way that doesn't drive small business to the wall (no economies of scale) and encourage all big business into high margin sectors would be just as complex as the current system, with all the joys of the transition into the bargain.
Re: Permit me to take a stab at it...
It's a good stab, and I think you've badly injured the concepts...
But seriously: - what you're proposing is a hybrid wealth/income tax. Immediate reactions:
- How do you value private/non-traded shares?
- How do you 'value' dividends (paid or declared? Before or after WHT/imputation impacts?)
- The 'presence' section looks like, and would face the same issues as, 'conventional' formulary apportionment
- Targeting shares/divis is a good way to go for non-distortionary revenue raising (google 'taxing the maximand') but denies you the behavioural regulatory function of tax, ie R&D tax breaks etc. Policy makers do seem rather wedded to that side of things, at least in common law jurisdictions.
Overall - I'm not sure it's feasible starting from where we are as a *replacement* for existing CT, but it would be an interesting complement to it, perhaps phasing in more and more as it beds in and improves in operation?
Debt v Equity & hybrid instruments
Generally a good overview - but the point about interest recipients being taxable, potentially leading to higher overall taxation is a touch disingenuous.
Interest income may be taxable but returns on equity typically aren't - and a loan note which converts to shares if not redeemed after a fixed period may well be a debt in the hands of the 'return payer', but equity in the hands of the 'return recipient'. So clever structuring can exploit the differentials in accounting treatment to reduce taxes (although scope for it is shrinking; the typical DCLNs which were so popular a few years back no longer work in the UK for example). Goodness only know how you'd handle the impact of that kind of thing on the group accounts underpinning the formulary apportionment beloved of unitary taxation advocates, but so far they haven't even explained how they'd make capital allowances work.
A useful and nicely written piece - gives me another reason to try to arrange a family holiday in Scotland
Life imitates art - anyone else ever read Snow Crash..?
AC out of habit @AC 01:56 GMT
So at least now we know you're a nun...
Biometrics are fine until someone manages to replicate your verification data. I'm reasonably good at thinking up new passwords; I'm less good on replacement eyeballs.
Simon - I was going to upvote you again, but it's on 42 which seems far too appropriate to disturb... please consider this an upvote in principle
One may well ask why, if Google is underpaying tax, PAC is asking about it*, rather than passing it onto the Treasury Select Committee, or maybe even HMRC..? Well worth reading: http://bit.ly/14TeTcg from @BenSaundersCTA - the rational explanation for tax professionals' exasperation with PAC.
*The remit of the PAC here http://bit.ly/10Fv1NB Last time I looked, relevant bits were 148(1), 152(1),(2) and then 137A
I take your point if it was interest alone that was the issue - but if you're a 'higher rate' tax payer based on salary etc. then you only need £1.51 of interest per year to be breaking the law if you don't pay up the extra tax over the 20% withheld at source; the interest is taken as the top slice and taxed at the highest possible rate.
Since the threshold for paying tax at 40% is falling in absolute terms every year at the moment, more and more people are at risk, and you only need around £300-400 of savings/rainy day account to trigger the problem. I agree, you may not be on the breadline at £40k pa - but if you're the sole earner for a family of 4 in the South East, money is likely to be tight and the last thing you need is the aggravation of HMRC chasing you for undeclared income, especially if 'their own' website is telling you there was nothing more to pay...
Re: On a more serious note
It's been a recognised problem for some time that HMRC update their Manuals without necessarily telling you what they have changed or when - I've worked in places where it was standard practice to print out (with dates) anything you planned to rely on in advice or correspondence, and keep a copy on the file. [Said file then being sent via internal mail to a centralised scanning facility where it was converted back to a digital image for storage and subsequent retrieval]
A triumph of form over function
Actually, you may be better off on the old sites. There are some pretty fundamental issues with the technical accuracy of quite a lot of the tax and benefits advice, which have given rise to a lot of comment by specialists in the relevant fields - eg a few gems from living tax god John Andrews (who tweets as @jmalitrg ):
It's ok higher-paid GOV.UK says that Child Benefit is not taxable http://goo.gl/dDMkc can you tell HMRC please @gdsteam
Nice to know tax on savings interest is always deducted before you get it says GOV.UK...some will get a nasty shock
GOV.UK says you "always" pay tax on benefits if a co director..not so..eg unpaid charity directors http://goo.gl/onjUj
GOV.UK says you don't have to pay NI on tips paid to you https://www.gov.uk/tips-at-work/tips-and-tax … .please tell taxi-drivers @gdsteam and HMRC
You're spot on - they're called zappers (as opposed to phantomware, which is the built in stuff) and you can read all about them courstesy of the OECD - linked in my first post above... the sheer scale of the criminality is staggering. The manufacturers know about this stuff, and far from whitelisting acceptable addresses, they're the ones writing in the hookey code - and even training the operators in how to use it...
Are we surprised?
Even OECD and the accountants have noticed the availability of the tools... http://www.oecd.org/ctp/crime/ElectronicSalesSuppression.pdf
Today is clearly Irony Day
From the FT (£/reg'n) The UK government’s Insolvency Service is all but insolvent.
Anyone got a third to make the hat-trick?
Re: The best kind of keyboard
You mean like one of these: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/15/usb_typewriters/
(That's the second time I've been able to use this link in one of Mr Dabbs' forums in the last 3 months; he clearly has a thing about keyboards...)
Re: I must defend American coffee drinkers
To be fair, Identity, the worst drink I had between Newark & Vancouver (via Tennessee, Arizona and 19 other States) was actually in Canada. At breakfast, a German crew (we were on a historic car rally) asked me to confirm whether the brown stuff in the mugs was tea or coffee. I thought they were joking, until I tasted it. I honestly could not tell whether it was badly stewed tea or poorly made coffee; there were hints of both.
Catching up with an ex-pat friend later that day, who happened to live about 200 yards off our route, she enlightened me as to the problem. Commercial eateries have a tendency to run both beverages through the same machine, without rinsing between batches. (To make up for it, she gave me a cup of her jealously hoarded imported tea; best cuppa I had on the whole trip).
Hopefully one day I'll get to rerun the route & visit some of the proper coffee joints - and take a little more time to enjoy the scenery...
I've tried American coffee, and 'swilling' is definitely the appropriate verb. On my first encounter with a filling station coffee machine, I took in the range of syrups, flavourings and other contaminants on offer via the half dozen or so nozzles ranged along the 8' wide monster and thought to myself "Why on earth would anyone want to add all that to a perfectly good cup of coffee?"
Sadly , the answer became apparent all too soon. No-one in their right mind would want to add them to a perfectly good cup of coffee... but adding them to what came out of the coffee machine would have made, well, more sense than drinking it neat. But not quite as much sense as not drinking it at all, which was the option I took for most of the rest of the trip.
Aren't HMRC (currently) C&W customers? Would have been really 'entertaining' if it had gone down yesterday in parallel with Santanders bill-pay facility for SA taxes...
It's easier to disprove a hypothesis than to prove it*.
I think Burbage is on about the same thing that passed through my mind - all this could really be good for is proving that a given recording _wasn't_ made at a particular time because the variance in hum is too great, in the same way that DNA matching can only [conclusively] clear people because they don't match.
The risk of false positives is too high for a good defence lawyer to let the prosecution get away with saying that the 'hum profile' (or rather, the close approximation of it which can be extracted from recordings which almost certainly weren't made on kit designed to accurately preserve it) proves when a recording _was_ made. And of course if there's a gap in the pattern (aka doesn't match any known profile) then it's probably been fiddled with, and almost certainly won't be a 'kosher' recording made on kit connected to UK mains. But again, all that does is expand the list of known unknowns and potentially disprove a given claim, rather than being proof positive of any particular assertion.
*If you're a scientist or a logician. A lawyer is of course required to be neither on behalf of his client.
For those interested - the PAC report is now out
Though titled as a report into HMRC's accounts, it is in fact all about Starbucks, Google & Amazon's accounts : http://bit.ly/Yp3VIA Have a read!
(Full link for those who don't like/scan bit.ly: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news/hmrc-accounts-2011-12-report/
PAC Report into HMRC's Accounts
Which actually seems to be all about Starbucks, Google & Amazon'z accounts (though not Stemcor or other multinationals) is now out: http://bit.ly/Yp3VIA
Perhaps another reason not many MPs voted for Meacher's Bill is that there's a government sponsored one which we expect to see in the draft Finance Bill on 11 December. You can read more about it here: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/tax_avoidance_gaar.htm
There's a 'lively debate' amongst tax professionals about whether the HMRC GAAR goes too far, or not far enough; the debate on Meacher's bill is rather more polarised (and not really a debate).
I was interested to note in passing that even Austin Mitchell MP hadn't noticed either Meacher's bill or the Treasury proposals when he asked the head of HMRC if they had any plans to legislate on anti avoidance at the PAC hearing on the Monday before Amazon's grilling - you can see it in all it's glory at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=11707 time 16:06:02
The point of Halon
They didn't just use it on computers. Libraries loved it; apparently priceless medieaval manuscripts and irreplaceable first editions respond slightly less well to sprinklers than do server racks (the concept of double redundancy isn't really compatible with *unique* archive material). The alternative gas systems are I understand considerably less effective, so more books will burn while it takes effect. IANAL*
*I Am Not A Librarian
Dr Xym just realised...
I thought it was a deliberate Friday thing; just not sure if you were heading into the 4 Yorkshiremen territory, or considering a Spanish Inquisition style development of increasingly smaller price fractions...
Oh, _that_ Opera... I thought there was an IT angle for a moment...
Re: Why use wireless at all?
Actually, the big curly cable thing could be a good idea - at the end of the line, it'd be all stretched out and would then pull the train back again; free green energy! No?
What you need is an office full of these:
Or maybe just the one, kept on show, as the spare for anyone damaging their own - in much the same way as my Dad's firm kept a clapped out 14 year old fiat which employees had to use if their company car went in for accident related repairs?
Re: apropros of nothing
Does it really matter if the fly just gets squished between the trains anyway? Wouldn't it make more sense trying to work out how to stop the trains colliding?
The car in the films isn't actually a DB5 - it's a works special, originally a Series 5 DB4 Vantage, modified as a DB5 prototype. And Goldfinger wasn't its first appearance; it was used in an episode of the Saint ("The Noble Sportsman", Jan 1963) first, and the same chassis was in Goldfinger, Thunderball and... the Cannonball Run (yes, it really _was_ Sean Connery's car that Roger Moore was messing around in...)
- On the matter of shooting down Amazon delivery drones with shotguns
- OHM MY GOD! Move over graphene, here comes '100% PERFECT' stanene
- Lightning strikes USB bosses: Next-gen jacks will be REVERSIBLE
- Google's new cloud CRUSHES Amazon in RAM battle
- Beijing leans on Microsoft to maintain Windows XP support