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Tax Relief

Because tax doesn’t have to be taxing. A less-than-serious look back at some of the quirkier tax stories from the past month.

Star Wars and tax laws


The evil Emperor knows the importance of doing his Tax Return (of the Jedi) on time

Tax Relief is looking forward to watching the seventh instalment of its favourite tax-based space epic as much as the most ardent Trekkie (just kidding), and will be hitting the cinema as soon as the magazine has gone to press.

What does tax have to do with Star Wars, we hear you ask? Well, everything. The evil Emperor pioneered his rise from the mid-range politician Senator Palpatine to becoming the unchallenged ruler of the galaxy – using tax.

In The Phantom Menace, Palpatine manipulates tensions arising from a tax dispute concerning the Trade Federation's trade routes in order to convince the Federation to blockade and ultimately invade his own planet, Naboo, in protest.

He then uses the plight of Naboo to trigger a snap election in the galactic senate, has himself elected on a sympathy vote, secretly authorises the creation of a clone army which will later become storm troopers and turns a young Anakin Skywalker into part-respirator, part-supervillain Darth Vader.

The pair wipe out the Jedi and rule the galaxy as an effective dictatorship for the next 20 or so years – presumably hiking tax rates somewhat to pay for two Death Stars – before Vader's bad parenting eventually catches up with them both.

Who would've thought a tax dispute could get so out of control?

Pie ‘tax’


Leeds United fans have found the ‘pie tax’ hard to swallow

Former footballing powerhouse Leeds United's fall from grace has been one mired in financial trouble, poor football and worse leadership, culminating in owner Massimo Cellino being banned by the Football League from owning the club in October.

The club hit a new low in November, however, when it began imposing what fans are referring to as a 'pie tax'.

Pies are synonymous with British football – particularly in northern England – as fans often queue at half-time (or even mid-game if the quality of skill on display is particularly dire) for a hot meaty snack and a pint of beer.

The pie tax is not exactly as it seems, however. The club has in fact tacked an extra £5.00 ($7.50) onto its matchday tickets under the guise of it now including a 'meal deal' voucher.

Tax Relief hasn't eaten a meal which wasn't at least partially wrapped in pastry since the late 1990s, and can't help but feel that if a pie tax were actually introduced then Yorkshire would descend into anarchy within hours.

In fact, in 2012 UK Chancellor George Osborne attempted to extend VAT to cover freshly-baked goods including, worryingly, pies. Three months later, after a furious public backlash and campaigns by national newspapers, the plans were quietly shelved, and widespread rioting was averted.

Quotes of the month

"The reason that [UK corporation tax] is too low is that corporations should pay their fair share of taxes, and that those jurisdictions such as Luxembourg, which have incredibly low-tax regimes for certain companies are freeloading. They are parasites."

Rob Marris, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, takes aim at tax competition.

"Mascherano admitted the facts of two counts of tax fraud, so there was no need to interrogate him."

A judicial source from FC Barcelona star Javier Mascherano's tax trial, which saw the player handed a 12-month prison term. As his crime was non-violent, the sentence is suspended, meaning he will still be able to play for the La Liga side.
more across site & bottom lb ros

More from across our site

Barbara Voskamp is bullish on hiring local talent to boost DLA Piper’s Singapore practice, and argues that ‘big four’ accountants suffer from a stifled creativity
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The UK tax agency appears to be going after easier, lower value targets, one lawyer has claimed
Criminal experts have told ITR that the case of Ulf Johannemann emphasises the fine line between tax avoidance and tax evasion
The ATO workers were among nearly 57,000 people who were duped into claiming fake GST refunds, while Kuwait signed a double taxation treaty with the UAE
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