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In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner and creator of Corbynomics, Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner and creator of ‘Corbynomics’, Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the world for the better. Tax has been a feature of human society for a very long time. Almost no one gives tax a good press even though, as Richard Murphy argues, it has been fundamental to the development of democracy the world over. Whilst we may not like tax very much, in contrast it is clear that we really do like the public services which governments provide. So much so, in fact, that for most of the last 300 years, people have been more than happy for governments to run deficits by spending more than they raise in taxation. 2008 apparently changed all that. The issues of debt, deficits, cuts and austerity have dominated the political agenda ever since. Virtually every aspect of the government's finances and how to rearrange them in the forlorn hope of balancing the books has been discussed in great detail. Despite that, there has been almost no real discussion during this period about what tax is for and how it contributes to the creation of the society we aspire to.


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In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner and creator of Corbynomics, Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the In The Joy of Tax, tax campaigner and creator of ‘Corbynomics’, Richard Murphy challenges almost every idea you have about tax. For him, tax is fundamentally about the ideas that shape the sort of society we want to live in, not technicalities. His intention is to demonstrate that there is indeed a joy in tax, and by embracing it we can create a fairer society and change the world for the better. Tax has been a feature of human society for a very long time. Almost no one gives tax a good press even though, as Richard Murphy argues, it has been fundamental to the development of democracy the world over. Whilst we may not like tax very much, in contrast it is clear that we really do like the public services which governments provide. So much so, in fact, that for most of the last 300 years, people have been more than happy for governments to run deficits by spending more than they raise in taxation. 2008 apparently changed all that. The issues of debt, deficits, cuts and austerity have dominated the political agenda ever since. Virtually every aspect of the government's finances and how to rearrange them in the forlorn hope of balancing the books has been discussed in great detail. Despite that, there has been almost no real discussion during this period about what tax is for and how it contributes to the creation of the society we aspire to.

30 review for The Joy of Tax

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simon Wood

    HITS THE SPOT! After David Cameron gave Richard Murphys "The Joy of Tax" a bum review at the Tory party conference I ordered myself a copy, after all being ridiculed by the ridiculous has to be a positive? The book opens with a whirlwind history of taxation from the time of the Ancients through the rise of Christianity and on to the present. Murphy then answers the question of what tax is, what money is, and how it gets created, before attempting to re-conceptualise tax as something that comes HITS THE SPOT! After David Cameron gave Richard Murphys "The Joy of Tax" a bum review at the Tory party conference I ordered myself a copy, after all being ridiculed by the ridiculous has to be a positive? The book opens with a whirlwind history of taxation from the time of the Ancients through the rise of Christianity and on to the present. Murphy then answers the question of what tax is, what money is, and how it gets created, before attempting to re-conceptualise tax as something that comes after spending and is not a pre-condition of spending, but rather the government clawing back money it has already spent to prevent inflationary pressures building up in the economy. This has implications in the current situation where Austerity is held up as the only way forward while the economy stutters and splutters onwards, shedding social obligations at an alarming rate. In Murphys view, as long as there is no sign of inflation (its 0% for the moment) money can be created, after all private banks can do it, and the State has done it with £300bn+ fed into the Financial Sector. Why can't it be done to meet social obligations and bring the economy back to life? As someone who has been a leading light of the Tax Justice Network, Murphy unsurprisingly addresses problems with the fairness of the current tax system. An interesting graph (p140) makes it clear that the UK tax system is far from progressive, and in fact taking as a whole it almost functions as a flat tax with all deciles paying about 31-36% of income in taxes, apart from the poorest decile which pays out 48%! Some are evidently in it more than others. Other issues he addresses are the tax dodging of transnationals and the filthy rich, National Insurance which he argues is a tax on jobs, regressive indirect taxes such as VAT, plus the regressive council tax, and equalising the tax rate for all income regardless of whether its salary or wages, dividends, interest or capital gains. To sum up, "The Joy of Tax" while far from perfectly written, is a fine book that pulls back the curtains and questions the orthodoxy of how tax, money and government spending actually work. In doing so, and this is the great strength of the book, Murphy points to a possible route away from the sterile Austerity that monopolises what passes for political and economic debate with its endless cuts (Family Tax Credits, Unemployment Benefit, and Disability Benefits, and just about every social program under the sun, as well as George Osbornes two child policy for the working and non-working poor) and towards a fairer, and more civilised future. Readers looking for more detail and another view of the UK tax system should look to Richard Brooks "The Great Tax Robbery"; with regard to tax havens and those who abuse them see "Treasure Islands" by Nicholas Shaxson; and finally, for a brilliant critique of Austerity I'd not hesitate to recommend Mark Blyths "Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea".

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. I would add and your computer crashing to that, but the sentiment is still valid. Richard Murphy has been a voracious campaigner on all things tax, creator of Corbynomics, and in the ironically titled, Joy of Tax, fully intends to challenge every idea that you have about taxes. Whilst most people dont like paying tax, we seem more than happy to accept the benefits and services that a government Benjamin Franklin once wrote ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. I would add ‘and your computer crashing’ to that, but the sentiment is still valid. Richard Murphy has been a voracious campaigner on all things tax, creator of ‘Corbynomics’, and in the ironically titled, Joy of Tax, fully intends to challenge every idea that you have about taxes. Whilst most people don’t like paying tax, we seem more than happy to accept the benefits and services that a government provides from their tax income, so much so that populations expect governments to spend more than they can raise from tax and run a deficit. That changed in 2008 after the global finance system derailed and the political debate have been dominated by the spectres of austerity, debt and cuts. This hostile discussion has meant that the debate on why we need tax, and how it can benefit society have been ignored ever since. It is this debate that Murphy wants to bring to the fore in this book. But, it’s a taxing subject… He makes a good evaluation of the present system, with its few qualities and many flaws and overall it was an interesting read. His proposals are bold and in certain cases innovative, and rightly he argues we need to dramatically simplify the tax system to stop excessive revenue loss from loopholes. All sensible stuff, but Murphy comes across as a bit preachy about it all and it grates a little in the end. Generally ok, and if you have an interest in all thing financial then you may get more out of it than I did. 2.5 stars overall.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Paul Fulcher

    It's a shame that the publishers chose not to replicate the green ink in which this book was clearly written. And rather tempting to misquote a quote, itself misattributed to Samuel Johnson: "The policy prescriptions in this book are stimulating and sensible. But what is stimulating is not sensible: what is sensible is not stimulating." Murphy has many sensible things to say about what a tax system is designed to achieve. But I don't think his principles are as contentious as he himself seems to It's a shame that the publishers chose not to replicate the green ink in which this book was clearly written. And rather tempting to misquote a quote, itself misattributed to Samuel Johnson: "The policy prescriptions in this book are stimulating and sensible. But what is stimulating is not sensible: what is sensible is not stimulating." Murphy has many sensible things to say about what a tax system is designed to achieve. But I don't think his principles are as contentious as he himself seems to think. What is contentious is the ability to implement them in a large, complex, open and largely private economy, where one isn't starting with a blank sheet of paper - a practical issue that he acknowledges but doesn't proceed to solve. And as I will mention below there are principles which most would argue as sensible - avoiding distortions, creating certainty so individuals and business can plan, and maintaining civil liberties - which are entirely absent and would significantly change his policy prescriptions. Despite the title, the more stimulating parts of the book are about monetary policy, which to be fair Murphy regards, in a country with its own sovereign currency, as inextricably linked with fiscal policy and hence taxation. As with many similar polemic books, the author has a habit of announcing his "discovery" of things that are hardly a secret, for example, that banks create money by making loans. The Bank of England apparently "had to admit this in 2014" only after reading Murphy's blog - he's so proud of this he repeats it three times. In reality, Charles Goodhart, a founding member of the post-independence Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank was writing about this in 1984 ("Monetary Theory and Practice"). More contentiously he seems to regard Government debt as a free money making machine. "To regard Government debt as some sort of burden on future generations is absurd" we are told - and justifies this by pointing out that much Government debt is held by pension funds. Those would, of course, be the same pension funds whose main purpose is to transfer wealth from future generations to pensioners by owning claims on assets. Instead he argues strongly that governments could, in theory, not tax at all and simply print money. But then oddly - and this is where despite claiming to be broadly neutral on a left-right spectrum - he then takes an odd lurch. Far from eliminating distortions "the tax system is designed to have an economic impact and so must be big enough to deliver it." - the joy of tax indeed. He quite rightly argues for the need for fiscal stimulus in a balance sheet recession (see Richard Koo and his argument that the "government as borrower of last resort") and I have sympathy with his view that using QE to fund infrastructure spending and targeted fiscal boosts (tax cuts for those most likely to spend it) would be a sensible policy to boost demand, if conventional and unconventional monetary tools fail. But crucially this needs to be a temporary not a permanent feature One of his key arguments is that "all the money we ever need to make things happen can be created out of thin air". The threat of thereby debasing currency - either by domestic inflation or by depreciation - seems not to concern him. Inflation is dismissed as a relic of the past which "isn't prevalent in modern economies" - but of course that is in part because modern economies are run with independent central banks specifically tasked with keeping inflation under control, whereas past inflation was in the era where Governments printed money to fund deficits. And devaluation - a loss of worldwide purchasing power - merits nary a mention. Murphy would counter that QE hasn't had the same effect but this was a temporary policy, introduced at the height of a global financial crisis, and implemented by an independent central Bank whose very mandate gives them a low - but non-zero - inflation target. A permanent tool in the hands of politicians is likely to have a rather different impact. He does effectively dismiss the libertarian view of tax stating correctly that tax revenue "does not become the property of some alien body. It is the property of a government in which we have a stake, and in which we participate." However this libertarian view is much more prevalent in the US than UK. More pertinently for the domestic situation, Murphy goes on to argue that "every time a politician says they are spending taxpayers' money they are making another statement that is simply untrue. Tax is not taxpayers' money. It is the government's money" - technically true but his own grammar defeats his logic. Tax revenue is, he is right, the money of taxpayers plural (not the money of the individual taxpayers) given his own logic that taxation is linked with representation, and the "spending taxpayers' money" mantra is quite right to suggest that those entrusted with the funds should spend them prudently and efficiently. There is no joy in tax for taxes sake for most people, other than Mr Murphy it seems. The distorting effect of taxes are actually in his view a good thing, as stated above, as is constant tinkering with the system "having levers to pull is vital." rather than the certainty and stability which most would regard as sensible features of a well designed system. Indeed tax should in his world view be used it seems mainly to tax "harmful" things out of existence - to the author these include landlords (not needed - state can print fee money to build as many houses as needed), banks and the financial sector generally, large private limited companies as well as the necessity for anyone to actually work (no need given the Government can hand out free money). Practicality - in particular the "I wouldn't start from here" point - seems to also pass him by in his overly simplistic approach. Advocating abolish national insurance is hardly news: successive Treasury teams in the last 30 years have tried but failed to find a way of doing it without creating new distortions, a backlash from the losers (which can't always be the "rich" / "bankers", and "landlords") who end up needing to be compensated, and a hole in the Government finances (albeit Murphy doesn't seem concerned re the latter point). The last great theoretical attempt for a clean-sheet approach to changing UK tax was the Community Charge (aka poll tax), and we all know where that ended. Similarly civil liberties are for the birds - in his world we would have armies of tax inspectors in every town with full access to everyone's private bank accounts - rather vital since his big idea is a transaction tax any time money moves in or out of anyone's account. Wealth taxes and income taxes are the same thing he says - "the reality is that as far as anyone is concerned (and I stress anyone) £1 of accumulated wealth is identical in economic value to £1 from any other source." But then he explains this using realised capital gains (my emphasis) versus inccome. Fair enough. but there is a massive difference to anyone (and now I stress anyone) in £1 of cash income, and £1 of extra paper wealth apparently accumulated by Zoopla revaluing your property. And yet he uses his argument to support wealth taxes based on Zoopla like data. He is on stronger grounds in arguing for realised capital gains, even on residences, to be taxed as income. But he discusses inflation indexation of capital gains and admits there were reasons for having it, otherwise "people would be taxed not on their wealth but on the falling value of their money" but as apparently inflation has been abolished he argues this is no longer needed. Overall Murphy concludes correctly that tax is integral to the contract between a government and the people "that tax must reflect the values and priorities of the people. If it does people will willingly pay it and return the government that charges it to power.". The results of the 2015 General Election and the current polls (November 2015) are rather inconvenient then for his own policy prescriptions.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nick Turner

    Banks work in a very simple way. People deposit money and the bank lends it out. Assuming that the depositors dont all come calling at the same time no one reality notices that their money isnt really in the bank but is being spent on a new conservatory by someone they have never met. Ever since the advent of the cheque it has been possible for banks to actually lend out far more money than they ever held. Simply put, if your money exists only on an electronic balance sheet a bank can create Banks work in a very simple way. People deposit money and the bank lends it out. Assuming that the depositors don’t all come calling at the same time no one reality notices that their money isn’t really in the bank but is being spent on a new conservatory by someone they have never met. Ever since the advent of the cheque it has been possible for banks to actually lend out far more money than they ever held. Simply put, if your money exists only on an electronic balance sheet a bank can create money by crediting one side of the balance sheet with slightly larger numbers. This leveraging has been going on for a long time and was, in part, responsible for the collapse, or near collapse of a good number of banks in 2007/8. Depositors learned that their bank had lent to people who weren’t going to repay and demanded their money. The banks, unable to pay, went cap in hand to the Treasury. The ‘confidence trick’ of banks creating money is something which seems to greatly upset Richard Murphy, and represents a great scandal he has helped to expose, despite the fact they everyone already knew about it. From the great scandal of banks creating money Murphy builds his thesis. If debt is the creation of money then repaying debt is merely the distraction of money. The private sector destroys money when you pay off your mortgage and the public sector does it when you pay your taxes. The money supply is not controlled by the creation of money, but by its distraction. Murphy points to the grown of government debt in the post 2008 era as coinciding with a great paying down of private debt, which by 2014 had fallen from 196% of national income to 160%, as evidence that a total debt level must be maintained for there to be economic stability. This is all well and good except that it leads to Murphy to conclude that "Government debt is just that part of the money supply that central government has created just as commercial bank lending is that part of the money supply the private sector has created.” On the surface this is obviously backwards. When the government borrows it takes the place of the person who has taken out the loan, not the bank. Indeed, government borrowing might contribute the public sector money creation if it borrows from a leveraged bank, but it does not create any money through borrowing. More worryingly is it allows Murphy to claim that there is no need to ever repay government debt. A government running a surplus depletes GDP and, since the money was created out of thin air more can be created to follow it. I don’t know where Richard Murphy goes on holiday but he has obviously never been to Greece. A country can only borrow indefinitely provided its private sector lenders believe that it can repay, if they do not the bond yields will rise and eventually the flow of capital to the government will cease. The other problem with wishing money into existence is that it doesn’t really happen like that. Murphy has arrived at his rather bizarre view because he has conflated government deficit spending with quantitive easing. the Bank of England’s QE program merely allows banks to shift bad debt from their balance sheets to the government and credit an equivalent amount. Effectively the state creating money to pay off debts the banks should never have created. This is very different from government borrowing. When a government wants to raise money it issues bonds which it sells to the private market. the bonds are bought by, lets say a pension fund, which I have put my pension in. My pension is effectively lent to the government in the assumption that in 10, 15 or 25 years I will get it back plus, say 2%. The money has not been magiced into existence, it has been transferred from one bit of the economy to another. So a government can, assuming it wants to run the risk of turning into Zimbabwe, indefinitely print more money then it raises through taxation, but what it cannot do, unless it wants to run the risk of becoming Greece, is borrow indefinitely. The fact that Murphy seems to think it can does not bode well for his proscriptions. And indeed they are disappointing. He is essentially a poor man’s Thomas Piketty. To create a fairer, more progressive, inclusive society he plumps for wealth taxes, and proceeds to layer them on like Nuttella. not only would he impose a financial transaction tax, he would extend it to all transactions, including those between individuals, so yes, you could be taxed for transferring money to a friend. Not only does he impose a mansion tax, he would extend it to all wealth, he would tax the value of land, rather than the property upon it, so a derelict plot would attract the same taxation as the luxury villa next door. The problem with wealth taxes is that I am just not sure why we want them. Why as a society should we strive to tax grandmother’s silver spoons? The argument against taxing wealth are old; If an asset does not appreciate in value a continuos annual tax upon it will eventually reduce its value to zero. Equally wealth can be held in many forms, property, stock, etc, yet, unless we are going to revert to a mesopotamian system, where tax can be paid ‘in kind’, these assets will have to be converted into cash before the tax can be paid. In practical terms this means selling them or borrowing against them, not things the government should be forcing people to do. This is the 'asset rich cash poor' argument which dogged Labour’s ill conceived mansion tax policy in the run up to this year’s general election. What Murphy and Piketty and even Ed Miliband really want to do is tax capital, they just can’t work out how to differentiate between a capital good and mere accumulated wealth. As a result they have adopted the trawler approach and seek to catch everything and is therefore deeply unfair and punishes those who happen to live in a certain place or hold goods which happen to have acquired value. At their worst Murphy’s solutions to the problems of tax avoidance and evasion are deeply sinister. Murphy wants HMRC to hold banking data of every individual and company in the country, he wants them to amass passport data so that travel can be tracked and airport duty charged, he believes that any individual who fails to declare property for the purposes of tax forfeits that property to the state. Any individual who undervalues his or her property faces it being sold at the stated rate. In an unpleasant reversal of the concept of innocent until proven guilty he wants to place the onus of proving that tax should not be paid on the individual, rather than the state. and woe betide anyone clever accountant who thinks that he can help someone avoid paying their fair share, he will become liable for the amount of tax avoided. In an attempt to finally defeat tax avoidance Murphy proposes that each tax law be accompanied by a statement laying out the purpose of the law so that breaching the spirit of the law, as well as the letter, becomes an offence. He is utopian if he thinks this will work and delusional if he thinks it is legal. But then he seems to be. The whole book has a faintly ‘in an ideal world’ aura to it. He believes in information sharing between tax jurisdictions which just isn’t going to happen. He believes that other countries would tolerate their companies having to disclose world-wide revenues to Britain’s HMRC. He believes that the public will tolerate a tax on their bank accounts and that he can hike taxes on business and make individual shareholders personally responsible for their paying tax without causing an industrial exodus. The whole book has the feeling of having been written by some one who is desperate to strong arm economics into an ideological mould. Murphy is right about one thing, tax is an important part of our economy, far too important to let people like Richard Murphy fool about with it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Allison

    The author is an embarrassment to the CPA name.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Well, the title is an oxymoron for sure...but this actually sounds like it might be interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rik

    Borrowed this from the library to see why a local politician might have purchased it on his gov credit card (and then had to reimburse the cost, along with an other £12000 also spent for personal things). Also, the title intrigued me. I confess to know little about tax, and can see from other comments that there are conflicting thoughts as to whether the ideas are correct or not. That aside, it was written simply enough for the uneducated to understand, for the most part, with some radical ideas Borrowed this from the library to see why a local politician might have purchased it on his gov credit card (and then had to reimburse the cost, along with an other £12000 also spent for personal things). Also, the title intrigued me. I confess to know little about tax, and can see from other comments that there are conflicting thoughts as to whether the ideas are correct or not. That aside, it was written simply enough for the uneducated to understand, for the most part, with some radical ideas on how tax should be applied. Quite left of centre I think, though I have no problems with taxing the wealthy or putting tax havens out of business (even though I live in one). The author does like to blow his own trumpet at times, which I found a little grating, and the final imaginary budget speech was a bit boring, as it was a recap of the rest of the book (OK to cement the ideas, but my eyes glazed over before too long and I sped read most of it).

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This little book is full of a lot of interesting ideas about how our system of taxation might be made fairer, and in turn be used to create a fairer society. My only criticism of this book is that the writing can, in places, be a little "clunky", which somewhat detracts from a full appreciation of Murphy's proposals.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nicoleta Fedorca

    I think everybody should read it. It's about how tax works and how it should work.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mat Davies

    I followed Richard Murphys work a few years ago due to an interest in his work regarding tax evasion and tax avoidance. It was very interesting to see an accountant and activists writing important reports which were then debated in the European Parliament. So, when I saw this in a bookshop in Cardiff, I bought it. The book makes some very important and prescient points about tax and money creation. However, Mr. Murphy makes a conceptual leap regarding tax, and assumes far too much about the I followed Richard Murphy’s work a few years ago due to an interest in his work regarding tax evasion and tax avoidance. It was very interesting to see an accountant and activists writing important reports which were then debated in the European Parliament. So, when I saw this in a bookshop in Cardiff, I bought it. The book makes some very important and prescient points about tax and money creation. However, Mr. Murphy makes a conceptual leap regarding tax, and assumes far too much about the relationship between tax, the state and culture. He infers based upon the British context and then applied it to European and global ethics and policy. ‘’Tax and ethics and morality are inextricably linked’’ (p.123) Really? He clearly has not studied the culture and tax levels in Japan and other low tax, moral societies. I found many of his assumptions and arguments tenuous, in particular about the relationship between paying tax and voter turnout. On the other hand, some of his conclusions are quite logical such as his argument for more financial education. Nonetheless, the key problem I have with the book is how it is written. Richard Murphy is clearly very angry and self-confident. However, he is not a political economist and it shows. By the time I got to the final two chapters I could not take him seriously. He has a very big ego, as shown by how much he points to his own impact, and the impact of his colleagues, and lack of reflection. A disappointing book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Matt Loten

    The Joy of Tax is an interesting read, if nothing else. Though I would argue that many of his proposals are impractical, perhaps impossible, within the constraints of the British political system, Richard Murphy nonetheless offers a compelling alternative to conventional wisdom on how tax works. Being relatively economically illiterate myself (certainly no match for either Murphy or the traditional experts he seeks to counter), I can't offer much of an appraisal of his arguments. However, I did The Joy of Tax is an interesting read, if nothing else. Though I would argue that many of his proposals are impractical, perhaps impossible, within the constraints of the British political system, Richard Murphy nonetheless offers a compelling alternative to conventional wisdom on how tax works. Being relatively economically illiterate myself (certainly no match for either Murphy or the traditional experts he seeks to counter), I can't offer much of an appraisal of his arguments. However, I did still absorb a wealth of new information on how tax actually works, and how debt and money are actually created. Well worth reading with a healthy dose of scepticism and an open-mind, if such a thing is possible.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Phizacklea-Cullen

    A highly accessible and positive assessment of the benefits of taxation, how it can be improved and made to work to create a more egalitarian society; a fine companion piece, if you will, to Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson's 'The Spirit Level'.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Raph

    This was my introduction to how taxes work. I am was a victim of shock on how much taxes I had to pay. This was a good intro to why I should be happy am paying tax.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ankedesign

    Great economic analysis, that explains the purpose of taxation in normal language.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rae

    I enjoyed the first half of this book but found the second half a bit repetitive and dry. The UK approach to taxes is quite refreshing, though.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Now I can understand how people wouldn't find the topic of this book riveting, but it is none the less important. Tax is something that effects our daily lives everything from buying a new top to going to the doctors. Tax is an integral part of our lives but I never realised before reading this book just how complicated our tax system is or how much our society relies on the tax system. There were bits in this book I didn't agree with and bits that really opened my mind (especially about Now I can understand how people wouldn't find the topic of this book riveting, but it is none the less important. Tax is something that effects our daily lives everything from buying a new top to going to the doctors. Tax is an integral part of our lives but I never realised before reading this book just how complicated our tax system is or how much our society relies on the tax system. There were bits in this book I didn't agree with and bits that really opened my mind (especially about national insurance). If you're a complete tax novice like me but you're interested in where your tax money goes (and comes from) or where it could go then give this book a try. An easy and enjoyable read for the topic.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jane Walker

    A concise and very clear exposition of a vision for a different system of tax and of the nation's finances generally. Naturally it has been ridiculed and rubbished by the wilfully ignorant and those who have most to gain from the current mess; but they should debate every proposition Murphy puts forward. It's good to think he is one of the advisers to McDonnell.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ralyn Longs

    Contains some interesting concepts, but is written in a very soapbox-like manner. Beyond rational arguments, author was particularly fond of shoe-horning everything into pet policies, which rather detracted from the experience.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    The economics in this book is solid and the analysis of taxation is solid, however the problem is that it is told in a very boring and monotonous way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    A good insight into the fundamentals of why and how we are taxed

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Kouroughli

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peter Fox

  23. 4 out of 5

    David Reid

  24. 4 out of 5

    Richard Russell

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Zahn

  26. 5 out of 5

    Luke George

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cin

  29. 4 out of 5

    James Johnson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Iain

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