Member Since: 10th Jan 2014
23rd Jun 2014
Suntree wrote:WordSmith1 wrote:
Nobody seems to have really noticed/taken issue with this fabrication they've come up with called 'Aggressive Tax Avoidance'. Tax avoidance is, and always has been legal.
In my view aggressive avoidance is borderline evasion, and once scheme fails it becomes mere evasion, otherwise scheme participants wouldn't have to make tax settlements.
Participants of avoidance schemes know what their risks are and know they are in fact evading tax. If one through convoluted transactions "pretends" to pay i.e. interest and knowingly claims relief on that interest, can this be really called avoidance? If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like duck, it is a duck.
One positive consequence that differentiates aggressive avoidance schemes and sheer evasion is absence of criminal prosecution in case scheme fails.
If all was legal in the eye of the law, how could it result int such devastating consequences including cancellation of insurance. Legal components do not guarantee that final product is legal.
I think that the distinction is meaningless. Tax 'evasion' is bad but tax 'avoidance' is ok - that has always been the mantra. Now we have this extra type known as 'aggressive avoidance' which is neither fish nor fowl. It ISN'T evasion (because if it was then it would be illegal) and it ISN'T Avoidabce (because if it were it would be ignored).
The truth is that 'Aggressive Avoidance' is a convenient construct, put together by the government to give it licence to take action at its own discretion. Are they pursuing Amazon, or Starbucks, or Vodafone for their 'highly artificial arrangements' designed to avoid much of their tax liability? No, they are concentrating on smaller fry, who they are more likely to be able to intimidate and bully into just backing down and paying the money they 'owe'.I wouldn't cliam for one second that anyone has a moral right to avoid their tax, but neither would I be so quick to judge the avoidance of tax as 'immoral', especially if I wasn't going to apply the moral ruler consistently. If the government wants to talk tough about pursuing tax avoidance and dealing with the money it drains from the economy, then it needs to do so properly, and I suspect that given the Tory Party's most prominent and valubale donor is also one of the biggest avoiders of tax in the world, then I doubt that this will happen any time soon.
23rd Jun 2014
An interesting trick on the part of the HM Government
Nobody seems to have really noticed/taken issue with this fabrication they've come up with called 'Aggressive Tax Avoidance'. Tax avoidance is, and always has been legal. They themselves are excruciatingly careful to admit this in all of their press releases on the subject, albeit in as cursory way as possible so that Joe Public won't pay much heed.
But 'aggressive tax avoidance' (which is an utterly meaningless distinction) is suddenly...bad? It's certainly not ILLEGAL - nowhere have they stated that. But they have managed to swing the opinion of the general public into the frame of mind that it's immoral, as if it is the job of the government to legislate on what is moral. We sit in judgement on other countries where the rule of law is confused with 'morals' - countries where for example women are stoned to death for having affairs - yet we now live apparently in a regime where, even if one's actions are 'legal' one may still face persecution by the regime on the basis that they were immoral.
If you want proof of the breathtaking double standards of 'Call me Dave' and his cronies, look no further than the relative treatments of Jimmy Carr (slightly lefty comedian who takes the p*** out of the establishment) and Gary Barlow (vanilla pop star who is a visible supporter of the Tory party and involved in public events including the Queen's jubilee). One is 'morally wrong' and gets emotive comparisons made about his 'hardworking fans who pay their taxes' and the other is conveniently ignored with a deflection that it is 'not the place' of the government to 'comment on an individual's tax matters'.
Icebreaker seems like it was flawed in some vital ways from the outset, and nobody would argue that it seems a little unfair that a person who makes millions of pounds each year is able to find legal ways to avoid paying what those less fortunate must, but the hypocrisy and sleight of hand evident in the establishment's treatment of these matters is plain for all to see.