Dark rum, a squeeze of lime and a glug of ginger beer is one of my favourite tipples. So I was alarmed to learn last week, that at 50 grams per can, my favoured Old Jamaica brand is the nation’s absolute worst offender.
The new sugar tax is one of a raft of fiscal measures announced in last week’s Budget, against a backdrop of what the chancellor called “a dangerous cocktail” of global events. Whether you believe the government is thinking of our waistlines – or its own coffers – with its sugar tax, HMRC undoubtedly has a tax gap to fill.
For a retail agent, one tax issue that is showing no signs of going away is that of shopping vouchers given as incentives, for which recipients, and their employers, are often liable for the tax and National Insurance contributions. If Only’s managing director Brendan Maguire told me last week that he suspects the vast majority of agents are still very much “running the gauntlet”, by not declaring their shopping voucher earnings to the taxman.
It’s a tricky matter, with differing liabilities on the agent and employer depending on how the vouchers are distributed, and tax experts I’ve spoken to say there is still a widespread lack of understanding of the issue.
It can only be a matter of time before HMRC puts shopping voucher incentives under the microscope. And if you don’t have the right procedures in place, suddenly those voucher rewards might not taste so sweet.
Terror close to home
As TTG went to press on Tuesday, the world was reeling from the suspected terrorist attacks in Brussels, with the death toll estimated at more than 30, and counting. Much like the Paris attacks last November, an attack in Brussels is all the more disconcerting because of its proximity to the UK and our perception of Brussels as a “safe” destination.
But Brussels will be as much in need of our support as similarly afflicted, further-flung destinations, as the city begins to pick up the pieces after this chilling atrocity.