From The TimesMay 23, 2009
What is an author to do when every other word he writes will be written for the Chancellor of the Exchequer?
Sir, I am very definitely a high-rate taxpayer, although in self-defence, I must admit I have become so simply by writing a lot of fairly harmless books over a very long time rather than by, for example, ripping the heart out of the financial system through unbridled greed.
So I am, therefore, somewhat peeved to find that, now, slightly more than every other word I write will be written for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who will undoubtedly waste the money on computers that don’t work and other people’s duck shelters.
I have been enormously buoyed up, though, by hearing from journalists and other pundits that “the rich won’t end up paying the 50 per cent income tax because their smart accountants will find a way around it”. When I put this to my own accountant, a senior member of a reputable London firm, he laughed and said: “Unless you want to go and live abroad for a very long time, or associate with some extremely unsavoury people, or invest in risky tax schemes, then for someone like you there is really nothing that can be done.”
I assume he knows his stuff and the tax authorities know theirs, so why is this bland assertion repeated so regularly?
Sir Terry Pratchett
PS. I have no intention whatsoever of moving to a firm of disreputable accountants.