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The Times – 8 January, 2003

Flexible Taxmen


Durham police are furious at having to pay tax on the £50 prize in their force's newspaper crossword competition (report, January 2). The Revenue's statement "we are bound to enforce the rules", viewed in light of various judgments of the courts, may well be correct but is also widely disregarded by it. A well-known and well established example is extra-statutory concession A6:

"Income tax is not charged on cash payments received by miners from their employers in lieu of the free coal which hey have been entitled to receive by virtue of their employment, nor on the receipt of the coal itself where it would constitute a benefit in kind under TA 1988 Part V Ch II".

The Revenue's alleged attitude shows both its pettiness and the dangers inherent in capricious exercise of power.

I have the honour, Sir, to remain your obedient servant,

Michael R. Stannard, C2/10 Standford Hill, Eastchurch, Kent, ME12 4AA

The Times – July 6, 2007


J. C. Hopcraft (letter, July 4) says that he may smoke in public only if he is on fire. I hate to disillusion him, but I find no such exemption in the statute. If he is considering self-immolation he must ensure that he is not in a public enclosed space.

MICHAEL STANNARD, Verbier, Switzerland

The Times - October 8, 2007

Crossrail questions


If Crossrail finally happens (report, Oct 6), it means that Heathrow will be connected by Crossrail with the London termini of the rail services to Luton, Stansted and Gatwick and, going on to Shenfield, would connect with the Southend service. Does it therefore not make even less sense to talk about expanding the capacity of each airport when, effectively, they could be combined as one, interconnected by fast rail links?

Michael Stannard, Verbier, Switzerland

The Times - January 11, 2012


Your leading article (“All in it together”, Jan 10) surely ignores an obvious problem with a “mansion tax”. Income tax is a tax on income and can be paid out of that income. Ownership of a mansion does not imply enough income to support the mansion tax, and one can hardly sell, say, 1 per cent of the mansion year by year.

Michael Stannard, Verbier, Switzerland

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