Of Taxonomies and Taxes, Biscuits and Cakes

Taxonomies and taxes do have a common root – in classical Greek, taxa loosely meant classes or arrangements of things and people, and included the “class” of citizens who paid taxes to the city and participated in the political system. Taxation systems rely heavily on taxonomies (and, it turns out, incredibly detailed scope notes) to be able to determine what should be taxed and what should not be taxed.

Who would have thought, for example, that the classification of a chocolate teacake as a “biscuit” rather than a “cake” would be worth 3.5 million sterling and a fourteen year legal case that ended up in the European Court of Justice? The BBC’s report gives a fascinating insight into the complexities of tax taxonomies (I don’t for a moment want to go there and do taxonomy work with them).

Nicey and Wifey have a much more accessible taxonomy guide to the critical distinctions, which I have modified slightly into something approaching a matrix format. If only the UK tax folks could keep it this simple. (Go visit their http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/biscuits/index.php3 for the clarity of the scope notes!).

Thanks to JIW of Cambridge for both links.


0 Comment so far

Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.

Comment Guidelines: Basic XHTML is allowed (<strong>, <em>, <a>) Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically generated. URLs are automatically converted into links.