26 March 2010

This Weekend, Get Pissed Tax-Efficiently

This graph shows how much money you gave to the government every time you bought an alcoholic beverage over the last 12 months.
From this graph you can see why Darling is keen on upping the duty on cider. Strong, still cider is currently one of the most tax-efficient ways of getting sloshed. It is beaten only by drinking fortified wine close up to 22% ABV. Alternatively you could drink heap-loads of excessively weak beer of less than 1.2% ABV tax free, such as this ingeniously-named stuff. Be warned though, this method may cause significant wear to the carpet leading to the toilet.

This is the last weekend to get your booze in at this rate, so make the most of it while it lasts.

I have a more general question: Why are the rates so complex? I don't see why all alcohol should be treated the same. As you can see, there are differing proportional rates for beer and spirits, and then fixed rates for varying strengths of wine and cider, varying even more dependent on whether beverage is still or sparkling. The government doesn't charge different rates of income tax depending on what job you do (although a Have Your Say forum nutter has suggested it); similarly it shouldn't be indulging in this social micro-management.

Axe all this complexity and the associated bureaucracy and replace it with a single, proportional rate.

Tasting notes:
  • Small brewers get a 50% discount.
  • 'Tax-efficient' does not mean 'cheap', of course.
  • I'll do an updated graph with the incoming rates once the Treasury releases an updated version of this document.
  • You may be wondering why bother extending the 'beer' line all the way up to 40%. Well you can buy beer that's even stronger than that.
  • This post contains two links to BrewDog's website. Make that three. I'm sure this linkage will be generously rewarded :)

UPDATE: Here is a second graph showing the revenue raised by the government on some other popular recreational drugs:

MORE UPDATE: I've found the rates for the incoming alcohol duty. The graph below shows the new duties.

No comments: