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Mossack Fonseca: Pay your damn tax

4th Apr 2016
Partner An unnamed firm
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“[Mossack Fonseca] says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants”.

The last word of the previous sentence from the Guardian’s website does not bode well for the profession.

There could be a double whammy here. First, the Guardian seems to think that accountants, though not necessarily those in Britain, have been facilitating fraud. Secondly, a number of the 300,000 companies will have been utilised, sometimes illegally, for the benefit of those in all walks of life - including our profession.

Am I the only accountant who is not particularly surprised about suggestions that the odd accountant across the globe might have been helping the super-rich to become super-richer?

From initial reports, it sounds as if the Panamanian leak could lead to prosecutions around the world with professionals, their clients and associates facing years of hell and then long prison sentences.

Well, it’s about time. Tax is our nation's lifeblood and accountants earn enough to pay their fair share. Those who use scams like this to rip off the rest of us will now have to reap what they've sown. Whether they are British or foreign doesn’t make any difference. They should be paying tax at a decent rate somewhere.

It can only be a matter of time before much more detailed implications leak out. At the moment, it sounds as if everyone from Vladimir Putin to his Icelandic equivalent and football officials might be asked to answer some rather embarrassing questions. That is just day one.

Bearing in mind that Mossack Fonseca is only the fourth biggest provider of offshore services in the world, I wonder how long it will take for the authorities to take collective action against their three bigger brethren.

Surely it is only a matter of time before David Cameron and those of his global colleagues who do not end up losing their jobs as a result of this scandal take action.

One possible consequence is the recovery of billions in fraudulently evaded tax in the UK alone. If that is the case, not only could we save British Steel (as is likely to be renamed) but also the health service and so much else that is going horribly wrong in our impecunious country.

The good news for many of us is that the additional funding will provide the ability to hire lots more European immigrants to do jobs that none of us fancy. In return, the tax threshold could be raised to at least £15,000 and the 45% rate eliminated completely.

While some of you might be shaking in your boots, I’m looking forward to the revelations over the next few days but genuinely hope that not too many of our esteemed and highly respected colleagues find their names in the papers.

Replies (6)

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By ShirleyM
04th Apr 2016 14:39

Don't get too excited

We all know how the HBSC tax evasion ended ... like a damp squib!

We will have to keep on providing the wealthy with the lifestyle they have come to expect, and also by reducing the tax rate on the tax they don't pay. This allows the government to say they have reduced the amount of tax being avoided.

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By MDK45
04th Apr 2016 20:58

Don't worry as our ruling classes will have another group huddle if they fear the peasants are thinking about a revolt and throw us another few carrots to keep us happy for a few more years :-/

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By Henry Tapper
05th Apr 2016 06:00

Well said that accountant

Of everything I've heard on Mossack Fonseca, this is the best. I hope you don't mind but I've quoted some of it - attributed to the Imprudent Accountant, on my blog this morning - if you would like a tax-paid pint or two, imprudent - I'm easily found.


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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
By The Imprudent Accountant
06th Apr 2016 07:28

Thank you


You are very kind. I might take you up on that anonymous pint some time soon. Do you fancy a pub in the Cayman Islands?

In the meantime, there seems to be plenty of mileage in this story so I may return to it before too long.

Best wishes


The Imprudent Accountant

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By ShirleyM
05th Apr 2016 08:30

I know the Iceland PM is involved

However, Iceland at least sent some bankers to prison after the crash, and refused to use taxpayers money to bail them all out.

The UK is pathetic. Bankers continue to flout the rules but nobody goes to prison. Politicians, lawyers and accountants still use dodgy tax schemes that rip off our country but nobody gets punished and they are still free to continue with more schemes.

Companies fail to file accounts and pay tax so HMRC give them a free card to walk away from their responsibilities.

The UK seems to welcome the selfish self serving companies and individuals, and actually gives them a helping hand along the way!

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By jeremy28
07th Apr 2016 10:45

I received an email from David Cameroon yesterday (it was a mass mailing, don't worry).

Subject was:

"Helping you keep more of the money you earn;"

Imagine that the advise he was giving to the low earners was not used in his own personal tax planning... 

And which idiot thought that this was a good time for DC to be giving tax planning advice :-)


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