Taxing time ahead

When the Great Stan of taxes joins forces with hardware Stan and software Stan, be afraid, be very afraid

Tomorrow morning sees the start of a special exhibition at Somerset House, central London, marking the 200th anniversary of the introduction of income tax in the UK. The centre piece of the exhibition will be a touch screen kiosk, put together by Compaq and Microsoft, to demonstrate how the tax-paying public will one day be able to file tax returns electronically. Tax records will be accessed via smart cards, which will contain individual user IDs. One day, the exhibition promises, there will be tax kiosks in every high street. Initially brought about to help fund the war against Napoleon, and intended as only a temporary measure, IT is now helping to make sure it's harder to avoid than ever. Technology is a wonderful thing -- discuss. ®

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