The BBC’s odd reporting of HMRC’s rebates

The other day, HMRC announced that it had got some self assessment calculations wrong a few years back, and that some people were in for a rebate while others owed money.

Bizarrely to me, the BBC decided to report these things separately.

About six million people are set to receive tax rebates averaging £400, while another million will learn they have underpaid their tax by about £600.

So as a citizen, my immediate reaction is to figure out that I’m more likely to be in the rebate bucket, and, if I’m somewhere in the middle, I might receive a rebate of £400.

Surely it would be better to say that while there will be some winners and some losers, the average will be a rebate of £257.



One Response to “The BBC’s odd reporting of HMRC’s rebates”

  1. The Caped Crusader on November 4th, 2011 18:43

    Isn’t that the same as knowing that, on average, I am 0.0001% likely to die if I get on this aircraft (or whatever the likelihood is)?

    To be honest, I would rather know whether this particular plane is going to crash, or it’s not.

    Likewise, I would like to know whether I owe the taxman money, or whether I am more likely to get a rebate. The average rebate (or charge) doesn’t interested me…give me the binary version!

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