FT Pick Pockets Customers’ Tax Cut

This email has just gone out to FT subscribers:

To help the news industry weather the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, a long-awaited decision to remove value added tax (VAT) from digital news sites was brought forward by the UK government and implemented in May this year.

This change brings the tax status for digital news in line with that for physical newspapers, which have been VAT exempted for decades to promote informed public debate through quality journalism.

Your payment due on 03/07/2020 will remain at the price of GBP50.4, with the new 0% VAT reflected in your invoice.

So corporate subscribers who got reimbursed the VAT paid will see a 20% hike in the price they pay. That is daylight robbery…

mdi-timer 16 June 2020 @ 15:27 16 Jun 2020 @ 15:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Newsnight’s Fake News Graph Punishes Honesty

Newsnight made a lot out of an incredible statistic: that the UK had more deaths yesterday than the entire EU. The problem is the numbers are nonsense. The FT has exposed reporting on the continent to be littered with “flawed data”…

In fact some of the data in foreign countries is so dodgy that, according to the FT’s data guru John Burn-Murdoch, if England had adopted Spain’s new ‘method’, it would have reported just 20 new deaths yesterday. England is equivalent to 13% of the population of the EU, and yet would appear to have just 6% of the death rate, if it adopted Spain’s manipulated reporting…

Newsnight is supposed to provide analysis that goes behind the headlines, did no one at Newsnight not think the data was suspect? Was it just “too good to check” and they just preferred the Twitter buzz…

UPDATE: Newsnight sourced the dodgy data from controversial website ‘Worldometer‘, a website that even Wikipedia editors have decided to avoid. The data manager for independent statistics website Our World In Data told CNN that “We think people should be wary, especially media, policy-makers and decision-makers. This data is not as accurate as they think it is.” Take note, Newsnight…

mdi-timer 4 June 2020 @ 11:00 4 Jun 2020 @ 11:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Di Stefano Resigns Over Hacking

The Financial Times has suspended recently hired Mark Di Stefano as media and technology correspondent. The tenacious reporter joined from Buzzfeed where he covered media and politics. He accessed private Zoom conference calls held by The Independent and Evening Standard. The Indy is reporting that log files show an account registered to Di Stefano’s @ft.com email address joined the private video call for Independent staff on Thursday for 16 seconds.

“The caller’s video was disabled, but journalists saw his name flash briefly on screen before he left the meeting. Five minutes later, a separate account joined the call, this time unnamed. Again, video was switched off so that only a black square was displayed among the screens showing up to 100 people who had been invited to attend. The anonymous user account, which remained in the meeting until the end, was later shown to be linked to the mobile phone used by the same Financial Times reporter.”

Di Stefano tweeted the news of staff cuts and furloughs while The Indy’s staff were still on the call. His FT report stated that “people on the call” were the source of the story.

Di Stefano allegedly used the same trick – Zoom is accessible to anyone who has an invitation – to eavesdrop on the Evening Standard’s conference call where similar bad news was broken to staff. Arguably this is more a case of gatecrashing than hacking, it does however appear to be a breach of the FT’s newsgathering rules…

UPDATE 01/05: Di Stefano resigns from The FT

mdi-timer 1 May 2020 @ 17:10 1 May 2020 @ 17:10 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
FT New Editor Announcement

Dear colleagues,

Read More

mdi-timer 12 November 2019 @ 10:02 12 Nov 2019 @ 10:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
FT Complains That the Economy is Doing Too Well

The Financial Times has truly outdone itself with this unintentionally hilarious article from Economics Editor Chris Giles complaining that the British economy has actually been doing too well since the referendum. Which is an interesting position for supposedly the world’s leading financial newspaper to take…

Not content with just being mystified by the fact that people failed to do as they were told in the referendum, the FT is now bemused as to why the markets haven’t done as the FT wants either. Giles bemoans the fact that “relatively benign economics has emboldened politicians to harden their Brexit demands and refuse to compromise” and declares that “it is now too late for markets or the UK economy to exercise much discipline on Britain’s politics before the scheduled exit date of March 29”. Translation: it’s too late for a financial or economic crash to scare people into doing what the FT says they they should do…

Giles says that since the referendum “economic performance has been tolerable while the employment rate has reached record levels.” Which is a bit of an understatement given the UK is currently the fastest-growing European country in the G7 while Italy and Germany slide towards recession. Rather than complaining that Project Fear hasn’t come true – despite the FT’s best attempts to talk it up – maybe they should have a little quiet reflection on why they got their predictions so wrong instead…

mdi-timer 1 February 2019 @ 11:30 1 Feb 2019 @ 11:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
FT Learns How Imports and Exports Work

Must-read letter in the FT today:

We are a 95 per cent export manufacturer of high tech instrumentation, so we have a lot of experience in overseas trade. On May 24 the head of HM Revenue & Customs estimated that post-Brexit, import-export may cost industry £20bn extra at UK borders. With £10m of exports, 75 per cent outside the EU, and £1.5m of imports, 85% non-EU, we are in a good position to give a realistic figure for these costs.

All imports enter under Inward Processing Relief, and no taxes are paid at the border. Goods may remain in the UK for up to nine months free of duty and value added tax. Duty and VAT become payable if the goods are sold within the EU, but not if they are exported outside. When we sell our equipment to a Japanese company, we invoice free of VAT as an export. It collects ex-works and delivers worldwide, sometimes direct to a customer within the EU. It will invoice without VAT as, being based in Japan, it is not VAT registered. It is that company’s customer who must record and pay VAT, on the basis that it is an import even though the goods may have crossed no frontiers.

Our VAT and tax returns are made on a monthly and quarterly basis, with payment by direct debit. Every two to three years, HMRC audits our record-keeping. Maintaining this system requires a skilled person for one or two days a week — at a £50 hourly rate for 500 hours per year, the annual cost is £25,000. We also employ shipping agents at a £70,000 annual cost, of which over 90 per cent is transport charges. Our cost for import-export paperwork is about £32,000.

Our largest tax is the 20 per cent VAT charged on importing goods from the EU, just as from the US or Japan. This will not change after Brexit, although there may be a 3-5 per cent duty if no deal is done. The cost in additional paperwork will therefore be no more than 10 per cent of the present £32,000. We will incur an average 4 per cent duty on our £225,000 of EU imports, but will recover 95 per cent of this on exporting, so duties will cost the company about £500. Assuming we do business with the EU on terms no worse than the rest of the world, the cost will be around £3,700, or 0.04 per cent of our £10m turnover. Compared to currency exposure where rates can change by 1 per cent daily, this is a negligible figure, so Brexit on any terms will not change our business.

Jeremy Good
Director, Cryogenic Ltd, London W3, UK

Number 10 and half the can should learn from this…

mdi-timer 29 June 2018 @ 17:36 29 Jun 2018 @ 17:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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