Taxing Rum Babas and Ice Lollies in the U.K.

From The Guardian, an examination of existing taxes on food in the U.K. At the moment, there's a value-added tax (VAT) on some, but not all, comestibles in Old Blighty. But it's pretty hard to understand the logic of the taxation system (not least because they eat some weird stuff over there, or at least call it by weird names):

Take cakes and biscuits, for instance. If they're "wholly or partly covered in chocolate or some product similar in taste or appearance", then they're [taxed at an additional] 15%. But millionaire's shortcake, with a shortcake base, a layer of caramel and usually one of chocolate, too? That's zero. Fruitcakes, meringues, flapjack, marshmallows, teacakes? Zero again. Florentines? Full wack. Chocolate chip biscuits? Plus 15% (like "gingerbread men decorated with chocolate unless this amounts to no more than a couple of dots for the eyes"). But bourbon biscuits stuffed with chocolate, and Jaffa cakes, waddle home free—just like rum babas. Baked Alaska is a zero, but ice lollies are standard rate. Cream cakes are zero, ice cream cake is not. Frozen yoghurt that's completely frozen comes without tax, but a little thaw and you're in 15% territory. Popcorn attracts VAT, toffee apples are exempt. And there's absolutely no trace of calorie counting here. A chocolate mousse is zero, a lemon sorbet is 15%.

Of course, both of our great English-speaking nations labor under booze and cigarette taxes. (With even more cigarette taxes about to kick in here. Thanks, Obama!) Here in the good old U.S. of A, we've beaten back taxes on soda (and British taxes on tea, for that matter). But this may be the road we're headed down, since New York Gov. David Paterson and his ilk are likely to try again. Start hoarding your ice lollies—whatever they are—now.

Also, Reason hates fat Brits. More here.

Via CCF

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  • ||

    Let me tell you how it will be,
    There's one for you, nineteen for me,
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don't take it all.
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah yeah, I'm the Taxman.

    (If you drive a car car), I'll tax the street,
    (If you try to sit sit), I'll tax your seat,
    (If you get too cold cold), I'll tax the heat,
    (If you take a walk walk), I'll tax your feet.
    Taxman.

    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    Don't ask me what I want it for
    (Ah Ah! Mister Wilson!)
    If you don't want to pay some more
    (Ah Ah! Mister Heath!),
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeeeah, I'm the Taxman.

    Now my advice for those who die, (Taxman!)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes, (Taxman!)
    'Cos I'm the Taxman,
    Yeah, I'm the Taxman.
    And you're working for no-one but me,
    (Taxman).

  • Taktix®||

    Fuck that cigarette tax! I still smoke out of spite, claiming the government can't tell me how to behave, but it's starting to get really difficult to afford.

    How much are cigarettes in New Zealand (the new official waypoint for Rainbow Puppy Island)?

  • ||

    Raivo Pommer-eesti-www.google.ee

    OST

    Arbeitgeber und IG Metall haben sich nach achtstündigen Verhandlungen auf einen neuen Tarifvertrag für die ostdeutsche Textil- und Bekleidungsindustrie geeinigt. "Wir haben in der wirtschaftlich schwierigen Lage ein ordentliches Ergebnis mit einer starken sozialen Komponente erreicht", sagte der Verhandlungsführer der IG Metall, Michael Jung, laut einer Mitteilung am Montag in Chemnitz. Der Hauptgeschäftsführer des Verbandes der Nord-Ostdeutschen Textil- und Bekleidungsindustrie, Bertram Höfer, nannte das Ergebnis einen "schwer erkämpften Kompromiss". "Das wird der schweren wirtschaftlichen Lage gerecht", sagte er der Deutschen Presse-Agentur dpa.

    Die rund 16000 Beschäftigten erhalten von Juni 2009 bis Januar 2010 je 42,50 Euro als monatliche Einmalzahlung, teilte die IG Metall am Montag mit. Vom 1. Februar 2010 an steigen die Löhne um 1,5 Prozent und zusätzlich um 40 Euro im Monat. Im Februar und März 2011 erhalten die Angestellten eine Einmalzahlung von 99 Euro. Aus wirtschaftlichen Gründen können die Einmalzahlung von 42,50 Euro sowie die Gehaltserhöhung gekürzt oder ausgesetzt werden. "Gerade in Betrieben, in denen es brennt, ist das richtig und gut", sagte Höfer. Gewerkschaftsmann Jung stimmte zu: "In Betrieben mit erheblichen wirtschaftlichen Schwierigkeiten kann der Beschäftigungssicherung Vorrang eingeräumt werden."

    Auszubildende erhalten 50 Prozent aller Einmalbeträge und außerdem vom 1. Februar 2010 an 1,5 Prozent mehr Lohn und Gehalt. Die IG Metall hatte 5,5 Prozent mehr Gehalt verlangt, die Arbeitgeber hatten über ihr Angebot keine Angaben gemacht. Nicht einigen konnten sich die Tarifparteien über die Forderung der Gewerkschaft, die derzeitige Regelung zur Altersteilzeit zu verlängern. Nun soll eine Expertengruppe bis Ende Oktober einen Vorschlag für eine neue Vereinbarung vorlegen. Der neue Tarifvertrag endet am 31. März 2011. Sachsen ist mit rund 170 Betrieben und 12500 Beschäftigten der Schwerpunkt der ostdeutschen Textilbranche.

  • ||

    If you translate the first paragraph to English, then to Korean, then to German, and then to English:

    Metall employment gives with to IG respects the East Germany textile goods which makes a motion and a clothing industry and to the collective agreement is 8 after negotiating. " We had the squad which is strong social and the proper result attained economically difficult situation, " From is having; According to the bill IG Metall, said the agreement person who Michael Jung is important, to Monday which is to Chemnitz. Northeast Germany textile goods and clothing industry and President of Bertram Höfer associations, result " As named; Makes effort and compromise." where gets; " This the economic situation which is serious, " Is; He said Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.



    It's certainly no worse than the last "poetry jam" I was forced to attend.

  • ||

    Now I know that Reason doesn't like to do much deleting in the comments section, but perhaps they'd step it up a bit for the spam bots?

  • Jennifer||

    I still smoke out of spite, claiming the government can't tell me how to behave, but it's starting to get really difficult to afford.

    I did exactly the opposite -- I QUIT smoking out of spite. Now that my state's suffering historic deficits, my desire to deny them tax money gave me the willpower to quit, whereas a mere desire to have more pocket money or better health did not.

    Suck it, State.

  • Jennifer||

    Oh, and remember in the Star Wars movie, when Obi-Wan and Yoda prattled on about how giving in to hatred and other dark emotions never, ever leads to anything good? They were full of shit. I'm tempted to write a self-help book with a title like "Spite your way to self-improvement."

  • Taktix®||

    Oh, and remember in the Star Wars movie, when Obi-Wan and Yoda prattled on about how giving in to hatred and other dark emotions never, ever leads to anything good? They were full of shit.

    Not surprising, considering they were discussing their version of theology...

  • ||

    Ice lollies = ice pops = popsicles (accidentally invented here in San Francisco, BTW). The "lolly" part comes from "lollipop," both being on sticks.

  • alan||

    It's certainly no worse than the last "poetry jam" I was forced to attend.

    When have libertarians ever been forced into doing anything? The last poetry slam I attended was over a decade ago, and I was only there chasing tail, gorgeous tall, and as it happens to have been, a niece of Judge Ito's. Even given that, I left after fifteen minutes so I wouldn't be thrown out for my barely controllable snickering.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Oh, and remember in the Star Wars movie, when Obi-Wan and Yoda prattled on about how giving in to hatred and other dark emotions never, ever leads to anything good? They were full of shit. I'm tempted to write a self-help book with a title like "Spite your way to self-improvement."

    From my life experience, I have to take Obi-Wan and Yoda seriously on that point. If you traded places with me for a week, you would, too. As a teenager, I was so spiteful towards my parents and my peers that I didn't seek money, popularity, or sex. It became a way of life. Now I'm a bitter loser, a basket case. It's surprisingly hard for me to change my ways.

    Jennifer, is it still possible for me to turn my spite into an asset rather than a handicap?

  • Jennifer||

    Jennifer, is it still possible for me to turn my spite into an asset rather than a handicap?

    Yes. The trick is to turn your spite (safely and legally) against someone you don't like rather than yourself. In my case, that "someone I don't like" happens to be the government, so: I didn't quit smoking when I merely wanted to spend less money on cigarettes. I didn't quit when I merely wanted to improve my health. But knowing I was exacerbating an already-severe state budget deficit? Hell yeah, that's motivation. Granted, it probably isn't psychologically healthy to read news stories about severe budget woes and think "Hee hee hee fuck you hee hee hee hee hee," but it works for me.

    If you click on my name in this post you'll see the column I wrote a couple weeks ago, when I quit. Of course, it had to be very family-friendly.

    In your case, consider that if you make something of yourself, you'll annoy the everloving hell out of people you dislike who say you'll never amount to anything. Living well is the best revenge and so forth.

  • ||

    Here in the good old U.S. of A, we've beaten back taxes on soda (and British taxes on tea, for that matter).

    That's the reason y'all Americans drink coffee!

  • alan||

    Mr Paleth,

    There is something I have been meaning to ask a Briton, and if you are one, perhaps you could help me here, just a tiny cultural quibble, really.

    Why is it that in every British porn video, I admit I may have seen a dozen or too, the accents are really sexy on females, but, ahem, why is it that there is always a guy who stands in front of the camera talking to the viewer, explaining what is going to happen, making small talk with the girl and just setting the scene before anything happens? Is this British foreplay? Stop breaking the fourth wall with banter, get down to business!

  • alan||

    Proud of myself, that is my first homonym error this week, and it is almost Tuesday.

  • ||

    Brian S., since you have no money, no popularity, and aren't getting laid, you should go to England and star in porn videos. (Remember, for alan's benefit, let the chicks do the talking.) And, make sure you only buy tax free treats. You have the above list to guide you. Have fun. And don't you dare declare your overseas income to the IRS, or we'll all beat you with ice lollies or some other weirdly-named dessert. Cheers.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    LOL For the moment, at least, I feel better, Nick.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Jennifer wrote,
    Living well is the best revenge and so forth.

    I'm not so sure. I'm so bitter that I think of failure and misery as the best revenge. It stings like hell that my tormentors, i.e. my parents and the school authorities, thought they were doing me a favor. It was a road to hell paved with good intentions. If I succeed in this life, they get away with their psychological war crimes.

    Also, I feel guilty for being such a chickenshit. Why didn't I stand up for myself? I don't believe I deserve to be happy.

  • Jennifer||

    I can damn-near guarantee nobody is feeling the slightest twinge of guilt over any wrongs they may have committed against you, so if you're going for a Jewish-mother masochist type of pleasure, you're not likely to get it. However, if people spend lots of time predicting you'll come to a bad end, it annoys the hell out of them if you turn out all right.

    "Constructive Annoyance: How to Inspire it in Others" will be the title of chapter one of my self-improvement book.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    I can damn-near guarantee nobody is feeling the slightest twinge of guilt over any wrongs they may have committed against you...

    In that case, maybe I should up the ante with a murder-suicide. Although I would have no control over what happened after that, I might be consoled in my last few hours on earth by the hope that parents and educators would stop treating teenagers as the new niggers.

  • Jennifer||

    Murder is evil, and there is no room for evil in my "Constructive spite" philosophy.

  • alan||

    Brian Sorgatz | March 31, 2009, 12:11am | #
    LOL For the moment, at least, I feel better, Nick.


    For what it is worth, what kept me sane as a teenager was humor. Really, there was not a problem in the world I could not turn off with a George Carlin comedy album from his early days. Still funny as hell up to his untimely passing.

    Just say no to murder/suicide. Life is too stupid to go down heavy.

  • threeofclubs ||

    alan | March 30, 2009, 11:43pm | #

    Mr Paleth,

    There is something I have been meaning to ask a Briton, and if you are one, perhaps you could help me here, just a tiny cultural quibble, really.

    Why is it that in every British porn video, I admit I may have seen a dozen or too, the accents are really sexy on females, but, ahem, why is it that there is always a guy who stands in front of the camera talking to the viewer, explaining what is going to happen, making small talk with the girl and just setting the scene before anything happens? Is this British foreplay? Stop breaking the fourth wall with banter, get down to business!


    Were they Ben Dover films?
    They don't make too many films here in Britain so thats why you tend to see the same thing in each of them. I think its the benny hill influence.

    I am amazed that people find the accents sexy. maybe women talking can be the latest fetish in porn.

  • threeofclubs||

    i think there is only meant to be VAT on "luxurious food" and cooked food. The battle over the Jaffa cake was pretty famous.
    Basically it probably depends if the tabloids will complain or not.

    Spotted dick will likely be zero rated.

  • ||

    i think there is only meant to be VAT on "luxurious food"...

    The problem comes with defining "luxurious food." There is a type of digestive biscuit (sort of round graham cracker like cookie) with chocolate on the bottom. These are considered a food and are zero rated for VAT. The same biscuit with the same chocolate, except the chocolate is on both sides of the biscuit are a candy or "luxurious food" and hit with the full VAT rate, whatever it is these days. After living there for 15 years, I left the UK in 1992, so things may have changed.

  • Xeones||

    Jennifer: write book plz

  • BakedPenguin||

    Brian - don't give up. If for no other reason than (as stated above) to piss off others.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Last night, I wrote,
    In that case, maybe I should up the ante with a murder-suicide.

    Good morning, everybody! After I published that comment, I suddenly felt calm. I had a good night's sleep-and nobody is dead.

    I'm a little worried about having made people worry. However, I have no regrets as such for what I wrote. My reasons for this are too complicated for me to articulate yet. Anyway, I'm taking it one day at a time.

  • ||

    Brian, of you decide to go the murder-suicide route (not advised) at least take out some high up public officials and leave a detailed note as to why you did it. But you have to leave the note with someone who will blast it all over TV and radio. You can't just leave it at the scene because the powers that be will make sure it never gets made public that you spilled the blood of tyrants when those tyrants are them.

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