Tuesday, 11 January 2011

An unbiased call for tax breaks

While I would love it if this idea came true, doesn't it sound a little like special pleading? Tax breaks on market research, proposed by...three companies which spend money on market research. Oh but wait - they also have the support of "accountancy groups near Henley-on-Thames". Hmm. Don't accountancy groups also make money right now from the existing tax breaks on technological research and development? Why yes.

Is market research a good thing? Yes, just like jobs and apple pie - not famously the subject of a lot of tax breaks.

There is one good argument though, not clearly made by the article: research has a positive externality. Research allows us to test more innovations, and innovations by one party - whether successful or not - tell the rest of us something about what to try in the future. That's a good thing - but only if (like the patent system) people have to disclose the results of their research. Maybe we should offer tax breaks on disclosure of market research. Into new products only. Still interested, brands?

1 comment:

Hen said...

Tax breaks on disclosure in general. With copyright and patents existing to drive ideas into the public domain, tax breaks are akin to the public domain buying back some of those special rights.

Or focus on it the other way (useful right now) - tax increases for those who are keeping works under copyright beyond 10 years etc.

No chance of surviving lobbyists, and it's very gameable (two companies, 1 with IP and low income, the other with no IP and the high income tax breaks); but it's nice to dream.