Thanks for the comments regarding the Fair Tax Mark debate

I’m still amused from Richard Murphy’s post from Monday for being accused of oppressing freedom of speech. I am also very grateful for those who have stood up for some of the things I was trying to explain in the Economia article that I was asked to contribute to.

It’s obviously become a bit of a heated debate in patches but thank you for thinking that it was worth persevering. In particular, I really appreciated the comments of Helen, Chris FCA and John77, Michael and Pellinor. Cheers guys.

I have left another reply on his blog and as I have to save a copy of my comments in case they don’t pass Richard’s moderation “policy”, I might as well publish it here too:

Richard, you are welcome to comment on my blog any time you want, which is where I will continue to post my criticisms of the FTM method. I would prefer that you consulted openly with anyone who is interested, rather than selected individuals.

Also, the choices for the bias you imbue your methodology with will get properly discussed and explained. That would be a good use of the blog space on the website and would ensure everything is transparent.

I think you are misunderstanding my comment regarding the weighting issue. Although I think the annual weighting isn’t appropriate, my main criticism is your use of what I think you call the “sum of the digits” method.

I can see the utility of such a method where the raw data is not available to calculate an average correctly. Given you do have the raw data to calculate an actual correct rate, I cannot conceive of any reason to use it.

You are effectively ignoring one variable which has a massive impact on the current rate of tax.

That’s not to say there isn’t a reason to use it, but you haven’t offered an explanation other than personal choice, which is not

As I said in my original post you need to calculate the average correctly before applying weighting. It is not a case of one or the other. I have already suggested that you read Alex Cobham’s suggestion of a suitable formula on my blog.

With respect, I am very amused that you think I am vociferous…

Thanks again for those of you for taking an interest in this.

About Ben Saunders

I'm a Chartered Tax Adviser and a freelance writer. This is my personal blog about, well, mainly taxation. I might put other stuff in. Who knows.
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3 Responses to Thanks for the comments regarding the Fair Tax Mark debate

  1. Helen says:

    Hi Ben – thanks to you too, your blog has given me the push to start my own blog to record my thoughts about the tax issues of the day (think I’ll be starting with the hilarious Duchy of Cornwall PAC hearing…). It’s a real shame RM has not been more willing to engage in debate on your specific criticisms but I think your comments throughout have been fair and used examples which really show the flaws in the methodology, so hopefully the consultation RM is offering will bear some fruit.


    • Helen, thanks for your comments here. I’m really glad to hear that you’re starting your own blog. Post me a link here and I’ll follow it.

      Unfortunately, I think my original post on the Fair Tax Mark was a bit too opinionated to start the debate in as constructive manner as it could have been. But it’s probably been more entertaining than it otherwise would have been…

      I take the offer of a consultation as a very good sign and acceptance by RM that anything that proclaims to be “fair” needs to have agreement from others. I’m planning on posting the email here because I think they should be consulting with whoever is interested: people who will trust it, businesses who will be assessed by it, etc



  2. Helen says:

    Well, having asked for articles backing up a claim on another Murphy blog post it now appears I am likely to be banned from commenting. How tiresome. Link is
    Good luck with the consultation response – good news that they have opened the process up, too.

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