Take a look at this news item, reported by the ICAEW's magazine Economia: HMRC issues more late filing penalties.
Pretty run-of-the-mill tax admin stuff I thought on a casual glance. Then I thought about the numbers. We tend to scan large numbers without bothering to work out what they indicate, in this case it's something pretty significant in my view.
The article tells us that HMRC:
it is still issuing penalties of at least £1,200 to around 500,000 UK taxpayers
Now, according to my calculator £1,200 times 500,000 is £600 million. Over half a billion pounds! Equivalent to nearly £10 for every man, woman and child in the country.
Does this seem right to you? What does it say about our tax system and compliance rules?
Surely if total penalties for non-compliance are of such magnitude, for one individual tax year, then the fundamentals of the system need looking at?