Because the basic state pension is basically pitiful, most pensioners are subject to very little direct tax, but it is still prudent to have a working knowledge of the subject in order to minimise your liabilities as much as possible.
In broad terms, there are two types of taxation – direct taxes, or DTs, which are paid by alcoholics, and indirect tax, or IT, which is paid by people with a computer. (You’re unlikely to be faced with a demand for extra tax, or ET, which is only paid by aliens).
Indirect tax is levied on everything you enjoy and there is virtually no way of avoiding it unless you start eating children’s trousers or reading potatoes. However, there are a number of ways to avoid direct tax and you should make sure you’re using all of the allowances and reliefs available to you.
For pensioners, allowable expenses include the cost of bowls and golf equipment, tickets to Mama Rosin concerts, medicinal cannabis and eyebrow starching, while available reliefs include the inherent costs of seeing-eye dogs, waif collecting and recreational coal mining.
It is, of course, important to distinguish between tax avoidance, which is perfectly legal, and tax evasion, which is only available to the filthy rich who keep financial advisors as pets.
If you complete your own self-assessment tax return, never include jokes in the section for additional information, as this may be seen as an attempt to distract HMRC from your money laundering activities.