Tax Cheats

The Mexican government have been working hard recently to get a little more tax money flowing into their coffers, whilst putting in just as much effort into decreasing the money they spend. It makes sense. Times are tough, even for governments. No one I’ve ever met in Mexico, not any decent person anyway, has objected to paying a little more in tax to help the country out. On the proviso that the money is spent ethically, efficiently and effectively. And it is that proviso that prompts derision, contempt and general skepticism. That’s why there are so many protests. It’s a trust thing. Tax cheats and tax thieves. That’s the problem, all rolled into one non solvable concept that won’t be going away anytime soon.

What I really hate about tax is that too many companies don’t quote it in their price. Nor do they in the US. They’ll add it on in the end. Transparency, they say. So you know what the product costs, and how big a slice the government are taking. I say it’s less painful when you’re left in the dark. There’s some things you just don’t want to know. Quote me the tax and I get confused, and leave with my purchase felling like I’ve just been robbed.

Take the bus below, a cool old London Routemaster, decked out in attractive colours with a fabulous price, all to try and bring a few more Mexican visitors to Britain. Less than 500 pesos! Normally you’re lucky to find a flight to London for less than ten thousand pesos. No, wait, that’s not pesos. Silly me for thinking they’d quote a flight in the local currency. It’s dollars. But still, less than 500 dollars!¬†Normally you’re lucky to find a flight to London for less than a thousand dollars.

Always read the small print. You can see the $499 in the photo. Can you see the +$450 tax next to it? No? Fabulous! They’ll have you in the office before you find out! Bus

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  • Wow, my ignorance has been beautifully exposed. In my defense, the only one I had seen looked like this: http://tinyurl.com/yh277jv.

    I remember that just after the VAT increased from 10 to 15% in the nineties, price tags in some places in Mexico city would include three numbers: the pre-tax price, the tax, and the final price to be paid. I always thought that was a great idea, but I guess people started to get confused and this practice disappeared shortly after.

    • That’s also a Routemaster, but viewed from the other side! I love those old buses. I spent so much of my childhood on them. I’d hang around at a Tube station till someone left a valid One Day Travelcard on the ticket collectors box (whilst he was having a tea break!) , then head into the city centre to go bus jumping. Twas a test of nerve and an opportunity to show off your nerve…how fast will you let the bus speed up before jumping on or off?!

  • I prefer my taxes in full sight, actually. Hidden is way too sneaky.

    The problem with taxes in the USA is that the politicians spend enormous amounts of money on things of questionable value, like invading Iraq and Afghanistan. Or paying fit, healthy 62-year olds to do nothing.

    Why exactly does the USA need to spend $600 billion on the military when the next-largest spender only spends $40 billion?

    Few people ever ask this question.

    Pity.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where it’s time for more tea parties.

    • To slightly contradict myself, I do like to know what the tax adds up to on my purchases. But I prefer the sticker price to be the price I’ll pay. No surprises at the till please!

      Slightly off topic, or off country at any rate, I’ll never forget the ‘tax debate’ in the UK general election. Labour were looking to depose the Tories from power despite a historically poor reputation regards high taxation. They promised, on billboards up and down the country – no increase on income tax. Simultaneously, they slaughtered the Tories for introducing or increasing 22 taxes over the previous four years.

      Labour won. And introduced or increased 23 taxes in the first year. All of them ‘stealth taxes’. Do you use that term in the US? You should, I’m sure it’s derived from the military planes.

      I’ve asked the question, by the way. And come up with plenty of answers. You’ve heard them all before, I’m sure. And none of them stand up to logic, reason or common sense. The UK is not much better.

  • Besides providing more accurate information, I think they could have done a much better job of building a London Routemaster that actually looks authentic. This one looks horrible!

    • Bob, as far as I can tell it is an authentic Routemaster! Horrible paint job though.

      At first glance I’d have said it was the genuine article, but to be sure I trawled the net looking for photos and comparing – looks 100% genuine to me. I can’t to be honest imagine anyone trying to build a fake one…way too much effort!

      The Routemasters have pretty much all be sold off to private buyers now, so there are plenty of them around the world being used for things like this. There are only 2 routes that the old buses still do in London. For the tourists, you see!

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