Taxing Times

Thursday, 15th April 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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tax return I'm currently writing up The Normanton Chronicles for my Sketchbook Sushi series but today I find yet another excuse for putting that off: I fill in my tax return. This could wait until September or even January but it doesn't take that long to do and I can now live my life without having that bit of unfinished business hanging over me.

How to Make a Journal of your LifeIn a recent interview in The Morning News wandering artist Dan Price (author of How to Make a Journal of Your Life, right) said:

“I've been trying for years to 'zero out,' as in 'cut all the crap out of my life.' To be able to wake up in the morning and have absolutely nowhere I'm supposed to be.”

To achieve that tomorrow I've got a lot of places that I have to be today. I'll get to Dan's point zero one day.

Going to the Dogs

PennyGrey plastic tax return envelopes have been dropping through doors everywhere but our neighbours' dog soon processed their's when it dropped on the mat: she grabbed it and chewed it to shreds. Our neighbours had to phone up to order a second copy of the form. They explained that the dog had eaten all their mail that day.

'So it wasn't victimization,' said the taxman, 'it wasn't just ours that got shredded.'

Taxes and Tithes

medieval peasantToday tax in England runs at about a quarter or more of income but in medieval times it was just a tenth, known as a tithe and usually taken in the form of a share of your harvest. All that remains of our local tithe barn in Horbury is a few charred timbers: it burned down in the early 20th century.

Tithes were an offering to the church and the medieval Wakefield Mystery Plays has a scene which suggests that tax dodging is nothing new. Cain half-heartedly pays his dues, choosing the worst of his sheaves of corn as an offering.

As Cain was a son of Adam this suggests that the medieval inhabitants of Wakefield assumed that tax evasion goes back a long, long way. Next Page

Related Links

Moonlight Chronicles the work of Dan Price.

The Morning News at the time of writing the Dan Price interview is still online.

Richard Bell,

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