All entries for Friday 29 September 2006

September 29, 2006

Jaffa Cakes And Tax

No, this isn’t some really crazed idea about how we could possibly receive our tax rebates in perishable goods (although personally the idea of the £100+ the tax office seems to owe me showing up in confectionary form is tantilising), no this is about the answer to the second most burning question about small, sweet objects.*

Is it a cake or a biscuit?

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is another of those stupid debates which have no real resolution but exist purely to get students to row about things which bear no relevance to real life. You’re wrong. God, it must suck to be you.

Jaffa cakes are cakes for tax reasons. No seriously, they are. Most people who argue that jaffa cakes are cakes use the logical argument that when they are stale they go hard, whereas Digestives and Penguins go soft. Cake = hard, biscuit = soft. It was using this reasoning that McVities went to tribunal against the Inland Revenue over the jaffa cake’s status.

Basically biscuits are classed as a luxury item and incur a 17.5% VAT charge. Cakes, supposedly are basic foodstuffs and are therefore VAT exempt. The government wanted to get this tax flow and took McVities on. The soft/hard debate was what settled it.

Now what does this show? I’m sure if we really wanted we could put our Daily Mail hats on (fucking asylum seekers, etc etc) and moan about this being another example of the waste of time that the government can be sometimes every minute of every working day. But that would be stupid, and not just because it involves thinking like a newspaper which has paid no attention at all to major revelations like it being the 21st century and Genghis Khan not being considered a good model for leadership. No, the jaffa issue is important. How would you feel if they were a luxury item? Do you want to be priced out of those delicious little pieces of joy? If small people can get away with buying kids’ shoes and not paying VAT on them, then I’m damned if (with my size 8 adult shoes) I’m paying VAT on my jaffas as well.

So inclusion – cake and anyone who says biscuit is only out to ruin your life and remove you jaffa cakes permanently to a massive, exclusive gated estate filled with modern day Marie Antionettes declaring “Let them eat cake… cos jaffa cakes ain’t cakes!”.**


*The most pressing being is does scone rhyme with phone, gone or done?

**History Pedant says “Although Marie Antoinette probably didn’t say this”.

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