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Sounds good. I'm pleasantly surprised. I look forward to the big speech tomorrow.

I still think it would help if donations to charities and so on were tax deductible. If the Party offered such a policy it would help show we were touchy feely but it would also be sounder than the current charitable funding mechanism (where the Treasury pays 28p for every £1 donated).

Donal, tax deductibility works in the US because everyone has to complete a year end tax return. It would however be an added complication in the UK for the majority who are on PAYE and not higher rate tax payers, and therefore do not have complete tax returns.

I hear you James. But surely you agree with the principle of tax deductible donations instead of the current system (or am I way off beam here)?

I have to say I would like to be rid of PAYE and for people to do their own tax returns. It would really bring home how bad the tax levels are.

I have to say I would like to be rid of PAYE and for people to do their own tax returns. It would really bring home how bad the tax levels are.

I am willing to bet my annual income that you are some sort of tax accountant/lawyer, Mr. Blaney.

Please tell me that this is not the case and you're not in anyway placed to receive more business from your above suggestion.

No! Surely conservatives should be simplifying taxation not adding new layers.

Comparing the UK self-assessment form with those in flat-tax countries like Hong Kong which are one-pagers helps to focus on what the aim should be; if the tax return takes more than a page*, your tax system is too complicated.

*and no you can't just use a smaller font ;-)

You are wrong, anonymous floating voter. I am an offshore commercial litigator, not a tax lawyer or accountant. Please therefore provide me with details of your annual income which you are now forfeiting to me in a bet that you lost :)

Chad is of course right: as a purist it would be preferable to have a flat tax which would mean taxpayers would have more disposable income and would not need tax breaks at all!

If fact I'd go for a 2-rate flatter tax, as it has almost all the benfits on the flat tax, saving millions in admin, but also negates Labour's lazy argument about the nurse paying the same rate as the millionaire.

Of course the nurse pays a lower effective rate because of the initial tax-free amount, with everyone paying less than but closer to the actual flat tax rate as they earn more, but the 2-rate system would make this easy for everyone to understand.

Voters have been hearing about wars, purges, crackdowns ect ect on crime for years now. Fear of crime is still as high as ever. The police and the courts not to mention prisons cost billions. Voters might want more this time, like policies which mean less crime, rather than more police and more people in prison which isn't the same thing.

Offshore commercial litigator, eh?

I dunno but that sounds taxey to me! :-)

Donal: In effect, contributions to charity are tax deductible in the UK. For a basic rate taxpayer, giving £78 using Gift Aid and the charity reclaiming £22 produces the same end result as the taxpayer giving £100 and getting back £22 as a tax deduction. Gift Aid is just much easier given--as James says--that most UK taxpayers don't complete tax returns.

Higher Rate taxpayers who make donations to charity claim the difference between 22% and 40% in their tax returns.

Universal tax returns is an idea that gets considered every now and then. I think the worry from the perspective of whoever happens to be in Government is that in the US most taxpayers have to pay someone to fill in their return for them. Taxpayers who don't currently complete returns would probably not like the expense.

As Chad says, universal returns would be much easier if we had a flat tax system. But, as George Osborne has pointed out, UK taxpayers are very attracted to existing tax reliefs, such as relief for pension contributions, and a move to a flat tax--as opposed to flatter tax--does not seem likely in the short to medium term.

On the topic of DC's speech, I think the Conservative priority is to reduce the bureacracy and uncertainty faced by charities who want to apply for Government funding.

You bet your salary, anonymous floating voter. Cough up... A pity that you appear to be trying to welsh out of your bet :)

I must concede that Gift Aid is one of the better ideas introduced by this government. It is simple to calculate and claim and once a Gift Aid declaration is signed it applies to all future donations to the same charity, doing away with time-restricted covenants. As a charity accountant I wouldn't want to go back to the old system.

"Offshore commercial litigator, eh?

I dunno but that sounds taxey to me! :-)"

Me also. Especially when on the community page you describe yourself as "
offshore litigation and tax planning attorney"

I award in favour of floating voter ;)

Focusing on community values is spot on and this is why Cameron is good for our party. I would like to see rewards such as council tax discounts for people who help the community as they are saving us all money,

Matt Wright

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