Dictatorships survive by encouraging their citizens to spy and inform on their fellow citizens. Orwell's 1984 foresaw this, and wrote of the children informing on their parents to Big Brother.
Step forward HMRC, which clearly has been reading 1984 and is now encouraging children to inform on those that they suspect of not paying "their fair share of tax".
HMRC has set up teaching modules to guide children through the maze of pay as you earn and National Insurance contributions.
However some of the modules (which can be downloaded from HMRC's website) teach kids as young as 11 about paying their "fair share" of tax.
What the fark is "fair share"?
How is a child, or an adult, meant to know what someone-else's "fair share" of tax is meant to be?
HMRC makes use of video, games, facts and quizzes to “help make teaching financial capability and citizenship issues relevant and engaging”.
Pass the sick bag!
The Telegraph notes one module (“tax responsibilities of a good citizen”) which is meant to "help" teenagers “understand the obligations if being a good citizen and discuss what should happen to hose who are not prepared to work under such obligations”.
One lesson plan – targeted at 14 to 16 year olds – requires students to “discuss whether it is good to pay the tax we do, considering the benefits we receive. If it is good, then why do people try not to pay?”
“Show class the remaining factfile slides on tax evasion. What do students think of those who refuse to pay tax or try and defraud the benefits system? “Can they think of any example they may have heard of in their local area?”
A further “plenary session” asks:
“What do students now think about paying taxes? In what other ways can we contribute to working together for a better society? “What do students think about people who try to avoid paying taxes? Is it a victimless crime? What kind of penalties should such people be given when they are caught?”David Green, director of Civitas, is unimpressed:
"This sounds a bit too 'Big Brotherish'. People 'in their local area' are most likely to be parents or close relatives. Turning children into state spies is un-British."
The state should fear the people, not the people fear the state!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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