Why Being Disagreeable Pays

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A couple of days back, I was on the HMRC website, about to make a start on my tax return. It doesn’t need to be submitted until the 31st January, but I thought it best to make a start this week, given the copious amounts of money we’re dealing with here. Well, I am a professional folk singer, after all.

A message popped up on the website, telling me to read the following terms and conditions, which I’d have to agree to in order to proceed to the self-assessment section to allow me to pay my tax contribution.

Well, you know me. I love a good T’s & C’s blurb. I thought it might be the inspiration for yet another blog post, making it two consecutive blog posts inspired by written contracts. Perhaps i’d find that my niche was writing side-splitting blog posts about written legal agreements. So I began to scan the paragraphs, keeping my ears peeled – I was using a screen reader – in case there was anything of comic potential contained within.

But then an even more compelling thought struck me. The HMRC website informed me that I should only proceed to the tax return payment section if I agree to their terms and conditions. If I don’t agree with them then I technically can’t pay my taxes. That’s not my fault; it’s just the way the system is. So I had a cursory read through the paragraphs of text, found a couple of errant punctuation marks that rankled me, and decided that that was good enough grounds for disagreement. So I closed the web browser, and worried no more about it, safe in the knowledge that I, like Apple, like Google, like Starbucks, had managed to find a tax loop hole, and unlike those major corporations, I’d done it without some highfalutin, expensive accountant. I felt rather smug for the rest of the day. They’re right: tax doesn’t have to be taxing, not at all.

In last week’s blog post, I mentioned that we had been nominated for Best Group of the Year in Songlines magazine. I mentioned that you can vote for us to win by going here. Since then, we have won the Best Group/duo of the Year in the Fatea Awards. So technically it’s already been decided that we are the best group of 2014 by a team of professional music critics, so I don’t think you’re really in much of a position to contradict this. So the best thing you can do is to visit the Songlines site and cast your vote for The Young’uns.

Back next week. Will it be about written contracts? Probably not.

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