Why many people and companies avoid tax

Tax evasion is bad and a criminal offence. Tax avoidance is something different.

When most people in politics seem to  agree about something, it is often a good idea to ask a few questions.

Currently many politicians  seem to agree that the government should crack down on tax avoidance. It is a popular policy, as people assume it is their neighbour that is the tax avoider and they are the taxpayer. It comes “free”, offering lots of extra revenue to spend with no apparent increase in taxes.It gets them through the interview which asks how are they going to spend more and get the deficit down.

If it were that simple, wouldn’t it have happened by now? Can you remember a government that did not want to cut tax avoidance? So why is it so difficult?

It is difficult if not impossible because the self same parties and governments which want to end tax avoidance, also want to continue and expand the number of policies which allow tax relief for good things they wish to reward and identify. Most of those who condemn tax avoidance save for their retirement through pension funds. This allows them to save tax free, and to accumulate capital gains free of capital gains tax and income free of income tax in the pension fund.

Many of them with money to save also buy ISAs, to shield savings from both taxes. So why do people who so strongly condemn tax avoidance do this? Why don’t they see they are doing exactly the same as the avoiders they condemn. They are taking advantage of tax policy decisions which allow people to pay less tax. If they really believed their own rhetoric they would refuse to tax shelter their savings, and put money by for a rainy day and for retirement in tax paying funds with no tax relief.

They need to understand that just as they decide to use these “loopholes” or legitimate tax breaks to increase their own savings and wealth, so companies use tax loopholes or legitimate breaks to increase the amount of money they earn which they can spend on the company rather than sending to the taxman. If the Treasury offers companies tax offsets for investing in certain ways, companies will invest to get the break. If the government allows tax privileges if you operate in certain parts of the country, a business would be remiss not to see if it could do so.

Some multinationals get too clever at minimising their tax bills, and find they incur reputational damage when this becomes a matter of general dislike. Whilst few have any sympathy for multinationals, they do have to seek to satisfy the often competing tax jurisdictions of their various countries of operation. The UK after all sets a lower rate of corporation tax than the other advanced countries deliberately to attract more activity and cost here amongst those multinationals. UK policy is to encourage businesses to do more here to have a lower tax rate.

We can all unite to condemn tax evasion, the refusal to pay taxes due and deceit in telling the tax authorities what your profits or earnings were. That is a different mater. The present debate is in danger of confusing legitimate tax avoidance, something most people and companies do with the encouragement of government, with the criminal offence of evasion. You can  avoid all tobacco duties by the simple approach of not smoking. That I thought makes you a loyal follower of government health advice, not a tobacco tax avoider who should get on with buying some cigarettes for the greater good of the budget.

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198 Comments

  1. Gary
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    the tax code has over 14,000 pages!

    Why doesn’t the govt make a 15% flat tax that the back of a fag packet would be more than big enough on which to do the calculation?

    Because govt likes to selectively bribe the voters.

    The avoiders of this horrendous tax code are not the problem, govt is the problem.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Exactly. The complexity of the tax system wasted billions of pounds of people’s time. It is a huge drag on the economy and this is on top of the absurdly high rates of tax levied.

    • Pud
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      May I add that the government also likes to selectively punish voters? For example, taxes and duty on tobacco, alcohol and petrol/diesel.
      Also governments (not just Labour) take advantage of people’s economic illiteracy with increasing rates of tax as income increases. The justification is “the rich” should pay more, deliberately ignoring the fact that someone paying, for example, 20% of £100,000 is paying 100 times more than someone paying 20% of £1000.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Indeed a flat rate tax (above a personal allowance) already means the rich pay far more than the poor for their state “services”. The government spends (often wastes) about £10K per person. Why should anyone have to pay £1M PA for this “benefit” in taxes? Especially when they most likely use private schools and health care. Beyond law and order, defence and a bit of infrastructure what else is needed. 25% of GDP is more than enough.

        A flat rate tax over taxes the rich anyway. We do not want the government to further augment the many healthy but feckless. They need to get a job, or perhaps learn how to do a job.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        @Pud; “The justification is “the rich” should pay more, deliberately ignoring the fact that someone paying, for example, 20% of £100,000 is paying 100 times more than someone paying 20% of £1000.”

        But who is the more effected, in other words who has lost the greater chuck of disposable income, the higher paid person will be putting £80,000 into their bank, the lower paid person £800 – quoting mere percentages does not tell the whole story but does imply that the higher income earner is the worst off. The very real economic illiteracy, especially were percentages are concerned, that you pointed out can thus be used by all to make their case..

        @LL; “Why should anyone have to pay £1M PA for this “benefit” in taxes?”

        Because they earn £2m or more than others perhaps, are you seriously suggesting that the person who earns £2.5m pa should pay the same amount of tax as the cleaner who earns £20k if they are lucky?!

        “Especially when they most likely use private schools and health care.”

        But they do so from personal choice.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      14000 pages – so if I were just to read it (rather slowly so I could at least try to followed it all) then it might cost me £140,000 in my time alone.

      A whole (& largely parasitic) industry is the direct result of this idiotic complexity. The industry is another cause of the poor UK productivity. Together with the bloated & inefficient state, the inefficient over priced legal system, over taxation, daft employment laws and over regulation of almost everything.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        The thing that irks me most is you daft employment law rant which no matter how many times is challenged you are unable to justify. Which laws? Any law which prevents hire and fire at will one presumes?
        The rest is as ever your usual praying for a baseless state that you would not last a day in.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

          Bazman

          What are your thoughts on the Flexible Working Time directive? You know the one that gave employees the right to ask for part time or flexible hours ( now called zero hour contracts). The one you rant about nearly every day.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Not the same though they do overlap. A woman with returning to work is not asking for a zero hour contract she is asking for flexible working.
            https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/overview

          • libertarian
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            Bazman

            Yes and ONE form of flexible working that some people choose is zero hour contracts.

            So I’m glad you agree that this piece of workers rights legislation is beneficial to some workers

          • Bazman
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

            They in the main do not ‘choose’ zero hours contracts as many do not ‘choose’ short term tenancy agreements to go with them.
            Would I just move to a rented house and take a zero hours contract instead of a paid for house and a full time job? No and neither would you. Thats how good they are. Suitable for some who are in the main facing Hobsons Choice.
            Stop normalising hardship for a large number of people.
            How gullible do you think we are?

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Gary

    • acorn
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      In the 14/15 tax year, I had a bond pay out, from a building society that had no tax deducted at source. I declared the capital gain as income under the tax rules HMRC applied to that type of bond. I paid the tax this January.

      That bond was the only one of that type I have. HMRC now insists that I make “Payments on Account” on the basis that I will have the same untaxed income this tax year; which I will not. Can I convince them of that, can I ****. I have done the SA303 form and they have stuck me with a PAYE code that takes half of my company pension.

      I will say no more because I am very angry with this government.

      • acorn
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

        Sorry 13/14 tax year.

      • Mark W
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        Phone up HMRC, it may take a while to get thru but they are noramlly quite helpful if you put your case to them in a friendly way. I’ve had a similar thing happen before and had it resolved in one call.

  2. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Why can I not avoid paying for the TV licence? If the BBC goes bust who cares? The liberal elite can still watch “Channel 4 News” for their televisual version of “The Guardian”. To me paying for a TV licence is as just as unjust as forcing them to buy a subscription to “The Daily Mail”. Just consider the effort the state puts into chasing after less than £150 against those who are avoiding paying tax by taking their millions overseas and then you can see where its priorities lie.

    Reply You can avoid the BBC tax by not having a tv. You should not evade it by having a tv and refusing to pay.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      Or you can legally avoid it (I understand) by not watching “live” TV just using iplayer perhaps 5 minutes later.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        I saw somewhere that they want the “5 min” rule to be extended to 30 days – this would wipe Iplayer out as I think it is only available for one week.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        @LL; @bigneil; @Bob; et al; Both time-shift recordings and the iPlayer are a legal minefield, and as the TVL Act refers to television reception equipment and not “TV sets” it is possible that a computer running software capable of receiving an IP based television service [1] would be in requirement of a TVL as if they had a RF TV tuner card installed. The problem is that all this new technology and the TVL Act has not bee n tested in law, so unless you want to be the Guinea pig…

        [1] and that might also cover “as live” viewing, such as the “Watch from the start” service offered by UK broadcasters.

        Just to expand this even further, if neighbour A was in possession of a TVL and recorded a TV programme but then gave neighbour B the recording to view in B’s own home that didn’t have a TVL (with or without a system with a television receiver installed) then not only would neighbour B commit a TVL offence by watching said recording but neighbour A would have also committed a Copyright offence.

        As Mr Redwood says, the only sure safe way, if you do not wish to buy a TVL, is to not use any device to view or record television broadcasts of what ever sort. Otherwise take your own legal advice, or at least actually read the TVL Act, not just the notes on the back of a TVL certificate or what someone says on the interweby thingy!

      • graham1946
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Who in all seriousness wants to sit watching telly on a computer for any length of time, with all the fiddling about required, just to save £148.00? It’s ludicrous. Presumably the same people who complain about this fee are quite happy to pay Sky 3 times as much to watch worse, and with no radio stations supplied and constant interruptions of inane adverts. If you have receiving equipment you have to pay and that’s it. I’d rather that than have BBC take adverts, which ruin all the programmes they are in. Another thing I find difficult to fathom is why people must have a 50 inch telly and then want to watch on a tablet or phone. Is this group insanity? I guess its not the fee, it’s the compulsion element, but then what taxes can you choose to avoid if you are not rich?

    • Bob
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      Mr Redwood, Your reply is factually incorrect. Here is what the TVLA website says:

      “You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast.”

      It does NOT say that “having a TV” requires a licence.

      I have pointed out this fact to you on multiple occasions and yet you continue to mislead your readers.

      Reply True – my advice is shorthand. You would find it difficult to prove you never watched live tv if you own a tv.

      • Matt
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        Surely as a matter of basic justice, if that state wants to punish me for watching live TV without a license, the obligation would be on them to prove I had done so.
        20 years ago it might have been a reasonable assumption that the only plausible purpose of owning a TV was to watch live TV. Not now.
        Instead the BBC, with the backing of the state, seems to be operating on a presumption of guilt basis.

        In fact, with a broadband connection, or even a decent 3g signal, I can watch live TV without a TV license. Are the BBC now going to presume that anybody who buys a mobile phone costing more than £50 owes them money?

        Really, it’s long past time they encrypted the BBC signals and then charged people for the decryption key.
        What they’re doing now amounts to simply levying a per-household poll tax.

        • Dame Rita Webb
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

          Would many people buy it? You are going to hand over good money to watch the “National Lottery Live” show on a Saturday night? Let alone support an organisation that pays it Radio 1 & 2 DJs five times what the NHS pays a hospital doctor etc ed?

      • Bob
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        @Mr Redwood

        “You would find it difficult to prove you never watched live tv if you own a tv. “

        Are you suggesting that we now have to prove our innocence? What happened to the concept of innocent until PROVEN guilty?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        To reply:

        Surely the burden of “proof” rests on the prosecution?

        Though it does seem that the new DPP wants to change that for some sex crimes.

      • bigneil
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        reply to reply – I can remember one case where the owner had his tv modified to have a cable permanently fixed from the dvd player – and all other sockets on the tv were removed or disabled. I think it was ruled that he couldn’t watch live broadcasts and was excused needing a license, though I may be wrong.

      • Qubus
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        It would be much easier to prove that I watch TV, than that I do not watch it !!!

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      No this is unfair to the multi culti Webb household (and a lot of other families who have recently come to settle in the UK too). The UK is signed up to a lot of international legislation which promotes freedom to information e.g. The UN universal declaration on human rights. We like to watch TV that comes from Hong Kong and other parts of the Far East via satellite. We are therefore forced to pay for something that we do not use so as to be able to access something that we find of value.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Dame Rita

        Thats the whole point we’re ALL forced to pay taxes on things we don’t want, don’t use or don’t need.

    • David Murfin
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      I avoid the “BBC tax” by not having a TV.
      But why should I support the BBC through a compulsory licence in order to watch Sky? Or indeed to pay the full amount to watch just the Olympics, or a rugby match, or even Prime Minister’s Questions? I don’t pay an annual food tax to have a pot of tea in a cafe.
      I do sometimes but rarely watch recorded programmes by iplayer – the other way of avoiding the licence fee.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        @David Murfin; “why should I support the BBC through a compulsory licence in order to watch Sky?”

        Why should I have to support Sky (that I can not even access) via a compulsory and sometimes significant sales levy on products and services that fund the adverts which help finance those channels? Ho hum…

        Not only do you make a compelling case against the TVL fee but also a compelling case for a pure subscription based television service that do not broadcast adverts!

        • David Price
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Do you have any data available on what specific products include what significant sales levies to cover advertising on Sky?

          I don’t see the problem with making the BBC a subscription service.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:29 am | Permalink

            @David Price; @APL; Watch the adverts on Sky or any of their tied subscription channels, all have to be paid for, any company who advertises has top finance that cost, were do you think they do that from,. the money tree? APL, when almost all the major supermarkets, never mind the branded products, for example, buy advertising space on such channels how do you suggest that I “exercise a modicum of discrimination in choosing the products I wish to buy” – then of course why should I also fund the commercial broadcasts in the same way?…

            @David Price; As for turning the BBC into a subscription service, you see no problem because I suspect you do not understand the concept of Public Sector Broadcasting (PSB) and why it is important. That said, whilst supporting of a strong PSB sector in the UK I do accept that the BBC needs complete and radical reform but commercialising the whole is not the answer. The BBC needs to be, and should be made to broadcast, what people should watch, not what they want or might like, in other words programmes that might not have any chance of a high viewer ratings meaning content that commercial/subscription channels could not realistically broadcast due to the lack of advertising revenue.

            Also until the way subscription channels and services are managed and sold to viewers in the UK are reformed, so that people can subscribe to just the channels they actually want, it would be wrong to likely force people who just want the BBC to have to take a package of other channels too – in the same way as those against the current TVL fee argue the case again the current BBC funding model.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            Sorry, PSB = Public Service Broadcasting.

          • David Price
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 6:13 am | Permalink

            @Jerry – so no data to back up your opinion nor justification why people should be taxed under pain of fine and imprisonment to watch other broadcasters.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            @David Price; “[Jerry] – so no data to back up your opinion nor justification

            How can I say this, err, Mr Redwood has/had other things to do besides moderate his Diary….

          • graham1946
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            The biggest problem with making the BBC a subscription service is that all current receiving boxes and tv’s would be redundant and have to be replaced – they cannot accept payment for the BBC. This was done back in the early days of digital reception, by the BBC to retain it’s licence fee structure.

          • APL
            Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “any company who advertises has top finance that cost, were do you think they do that from,. the money tree? APL”

            I have never suggested they didn’t have to finance the cost of the advertising.

            Advertising presumably increases sales, moves more product. No? Else why do it?

            That is a net benefit to the producer, and allows him to keep his costs down – at least in the mass food market. Leading to the potential for lower prices – especially for the mass food market.

            Now, potentially, do you agree that the mechanism I have outlined above exists and does have the potential to benefit the customer through lower prices?

            On the other hand, the BBC who fixes its cost each year – ever higher – never has reduced the price of its so called service.

            Can you concede that point?

            Now is it reasonable to suggest that in a free market where the provider of the good or service is competing with its competitors, the price of the goods is more likely to be lower?

            Do you see how you may benefit even if you pay the advertising tarif for goods that you are too lazy to discriminate between.

            But you still have the choice to discriminate between Tesco and the Coop. You don’t with the BBC.

            The result is goods sold by Tesco and the Coop are competitively priced even though the manufacturer and the retailers are advertising at the lazy consumers cost. But the consumer gets a benefit through increased sales driving prices lower.

            In fact, the BBC would be very good with BBC1 and BBC2, Radio 1 – 4.

            Maybe just maybe then, the BBC could cut its costs and pass the savings on to the single mothers it prosecutes for preferring to buy food for their multitude of children rather than subsidize the BBC.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 10:51 am | Permalink

            @APL; I’m not against advertising, suggesting that consumer are being forced to pay for TV (and radio for that mater) advertising were they might not even see or hear it, why should they be forced to pay for it, if companies want to increase their sales then use the printed media, use the internet , use billboards etc, do not make people to pay for TV channels (via that advertising income) that they do not want to or can’t watch…

            What you suggest, that people can choose between say shopping at Tesco or the CO-OP, is a “Hobson’s choice” as they both use TV advertising, the manufactures of the products within use TV advertising, the only choice is about how much someone end up funding TV channels they might not wish to or can’t watch.

            I’m just sorry that you can’t my spot very heavy irony when its so obvious! Perhaps people like you just need to find that single clue and stop your politically motivated rants again the BBC when the same arguments about forced funding can be used against both the commercial and subscription broadcasters – have you never stopped to wonder why these broadcasters don’t push the issue even though a neutered BBC would be to their advantage?!

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “when almost all the major supermarkets, never mind the branded products, for example, buy”

            Then use your much derided discrimination and buy your foodstuffs from you local butcher, baker and candlestick maker, the local ‘organic’ fruit and veg producer.

            Your choice Jerry, exercise it and stop ranting about advertising.

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “I wish to buy” – then of course why should I also fund the commercial broadcasts in the same way?”

            Eh?

            Gerry, if you wish to pay for the BBC service you so like as a voluntary subscription service, please, feel free. If you’d prefer to pay for the BBC as an advertising based broadcasting service, please, feel free.
            If you wish to opt in the the governments voluntary fee for the BBC, please feel free to choose whatever method you wish to pay for.

            My argument is with the compulsory aspect of the governments funding model for the BBC.

            Jerry: “branded products”

            For goodness sake! Don’t buy branded products. Buy non branded products – it’s not rocket science!

        • APL
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

          Jerry: “Why should I have to support Sky via a compulsory and sometimes significant sales levy on products and services that fund the adverts which help finance those channels? ”

          You don’t have to, you would have to exercise a modicum of discrimination ( hateful word ) in choosing the products you wish to buy, and those manufacturers, that support Sky, and avoid their products.

    • agricola
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      Correct John, but can you watch Sky and ITV without paying the BBC Tax. I do not think so.

      Why should we pay for what we do not watch. In terms of news, currant affaires and even documentaries the BBC is audio Guardian. Last Sunday even Countryfile succumbed in trying to tell us that windmills were producing so much electricity that the grid had to switch them off . Balderdash, they get switched off because the wind is either too strong or none existent, and then have to be backed up by oil, gas, coal, or atomic. Then for this charade we pay through the nose. The BBC should be scrutinised by the hour for lies, political opinion and the liberal agenda, then fined heavily for unbalanced broadcasting.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

        @agricola; “Why should we pay for what we do not watch.”

        Why should we pay for roads we do not use, but are available should we feel the need, very few motorists use the motorway network but pay both income tax and VED towards them, should the UK convert the motorway network over to toll roads?

        Also see my reply to David Murfin above…

    • behindthefrogs
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      The TV licence is one of many examples that should simply be abandoned. With the development of the internet and other means of avoiding the need to have a licence, the BBC should quite simply be financed from general taxation.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        @behindthefrogs; “BBC should quite simply be financed from general taxation.”

        Well as many now suggest that the TVL fee is in effect general taxation…

        I’m not in favour of direct funding via HMRC general taxation, unless somehow double ring fenced, although the decriminalisation of TVL fee evasion is overdue.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      In todays day and age we should not be forced to subscribe to a politically biased television channel. Technology is surely available so we can choose whether we subscribe or not? I personally do not want to be paying for the lefty luvvies, mass migration, climate change, EU propagandists.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

        Timaction; “In todays day and age we should not be forced to subscribe to a politically biased television channel.”

        Indeed, and the only way to watch F*xNews in the UK is by subscription… 🙂

        “I personally do not want to be paying for the lefty luvvies, mass migration, climate change, EU propagandists.”

        No one forces you to own television reception equipment, never mind use it, after all “in todays day and age” one can get all the news you wish (to the political flavour of your choice) on-demand via the internet, whilst anything half decent on TV is soon released on DVD or some other rights managed viewing option.

        • APL
          Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Jerry: “Indeed, and the only way to watch F*xNews in the UK is by subscription… :)”

          That’s good. But what relevance is the US Fox news subscription service to a the discussion of the British media?

          Jerry: “No one forces you to own television reception equipment,”

          So, you are suggesting that people who do not wish to watch & pay for the BBC should be denied any other broadcast televisual entertainment?

          • Jerry
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            @APL; “what relevance is the US Fox news subscription service to a the discussion of the British media?”

            The channel has a declared political bias and the only way one can actually watch it inn the UK is via a subscription. Also perhaps you missed the smiley.

            “So, you are suggesting that people who do not wish to watch & pay for the BBC should be denied any other broadcast televisual entertainment?”

            Yes! Just as those who do not wish to obey the legal requirement of owning a Shot Gun, using a car on the public road, piloting a private plane etc. have to (should) do without. Non are essential to life..

          • APL
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “Yes! Just as those who do not wish to obey the legal requirement of owning a Shot Gun, ..”

            So, in this ‘information age’ your stated aim is to deny people information, simply because they do not wish to obtain their information from the BBC.

            I can see why we disagree on so much.

          • APL
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “The channel has a declared political bias and the only way one can actually ”

            Still irrelevant to a discussion of televisual media in the United Kingdoms regulatory regime.

            So why raise it as a topic if your goal is a sensible discussion of the merits of subscription verses compulsory tax relating to the funding model of the BBC within the UK regulatory regieme – except to make cheap irrelevant and rather ridiculous comments.

    • Anonymous
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Even if you do not use your TV for BBC you have to pay so long as the set is capable of receiving it.

      • Bob
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        @Anon, Your comment is totally wrong. Here is what the TVLA website says:

        “You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast.”

        You do not need a TV licence to watch DVDs, recorded programs or “catch-up” TV.

        No prosecution has ever been made based on TV Detector Van evidence
        The majority of prosecutions are based on confessions from householders where the inspector managed to persuade someone (often the most vulnerable people, like young and poorly educated single parents) to sign one of their forms, which is effectively a confession. (advice removed ed)
        Reply The best approach is to buy a tv licence if you need one, and not to block lawful authorities checking up.

        • Bob
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          @Mr Redwood
          I was sad to see that you censored my lawful advice.
          People need to understand their rights when confronted by the TVLA “inspectors”. I sometimes wonder whether you fully understand.

          Reply You described a course of action which could also shield a tv tax cheat.

          • Bob
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

            @Mr Redwood
            A TVLA inspector has no right to enter someones home without a search warrant and a police officer present, so why would you want to obscure that fact from your readers?

            If an inspector requests access to your home, you are perfectly within your right to suggest that the inspection is deferred to another time by mutual agreement.

            It’s the law, let’s just be honest about it.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            @Bob; “It’s the law, let’s just be honest about it.”

            Indeed but if you don’t have a television receiving equipment installed why would anyone object – surely most anti TVL fee ranters would no doubt love to ‘get on up on the inspector’, after all they don’t have no TV – do they? Not have to worry about said inspector actually returning later at a time of THEIR choosing complete with said warrant and police officer… Ho hum. Talk about being a utterly pointless reverse Jobs Worth” who is more likely to do nothing more than cut ones own nose off to spite the TVL agency/BBC!

          • Bob
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            @Jerry
            It’s the law, whether you like it or not, just like the need to have a TV License if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast.

            People could have any number of reasons why they wouldn’t want to entertain an unannounced visit by a complete stranger, and that is their RIGHT.

            If the inspector has a search warrant and is accompanied by a police officer then you should not deny access, that too is the law.

            I see no reason why the BBC should be above the law, in fact based on their track record they should the subject of enhanced scrutiny by the authorities including HMRC for their insistence that higher paid employees form their own companies to reduce their tax burden.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            @Bob; I didn’t disagree, I just think you are being rather block-headed (because you hate the BBC more than you hate the TVL [1]) and rather “Jobs Worth” whilst the only person who will get inconvenienced is you should the TVL inspector show up with said with said warrant and police officer, as I said… You seem to think that 99% of the population is ignorant of their requirements under the TVL Act, that might or might not be the case but most are still capable of using a little bit of common sense!

            [1] which might well still survive even if the BBC was commercialised as someone or something will still have to fund PSB (that might or might not stay on the BBC) in the UK.

            As for the rest of your, obviously politically motivated, anti BBC rant – well you don’t seem to concerned about other broadcasters engaging in similar industry practises but then perhaps their perceived political biased/dogma is more to your personal liking.

          • Bob
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry
            Your inexplicable pro BBC bias is quite clear for all to see, and the the only “block-headed” ranting on this thread appears to be from you, I am merely stating facts, something that you might like to try sometime instead of trying to twist other peoples comments to provide yourself with something to rant about.

            As far as PSB is concerned, it doesn’t need taxpayer funding, it can be provided by commercial broadcasters as a condition of their operating licence.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 14, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          @Bob; “Your inexplicable pro BBC”

          Not pro BBC, I can and are quite critical of the BBC and I tell them so directly, unlike you (I suspect) I will have in complained directly about what I considered -or indeed what the content proved to be- right-wing bias just as I have complained of left wing bias.

          “I am merely stating facts”

          I never said you weren’t, what you seem to have dug your heels in about is first our host telling you that your conclusions were out of order and now me saying why they won’t work. Non so blind as those who choose not to see though…

          As far as PSB is concerned, it doesn’t need taxpayer funding, it can be provided by commercial broadcasters as a condition of their operating licence.”

          No it can’t, go ask ITV if you do not believe be, and how much PSB do you see on Sky or their tied content – about the only PSB that they do offer is news but then that is supported by other commercial funding, either on-air adverts or contracted services.

          The difference between you and myself is that I actually understand not just how and why the BBC works, but also how and why the commercial and subscriptions broadcasters work and what does not – you on the other hand quite obviously do not but when has that ever stop your sort from “stating facts”. 🙁

          • Bob
            Posted February 15, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry
            If you’ve criticised the BBC, then I must have missed it because all I have seen is you blindly promoting the BBC including a fierce denial of the Savile case.

            As far as PSB is concerned, you misunderstand (deliberately I suspect). PSB could be made a condition of the operating licence for commercial broadcasters.

            Read it again and stop foaming at the mouth.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 15, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            @Bob: What ever, but do take your own advice about oral hygiene!

            I said that I complain directly to the BBC, what is more such complaints are based on both the facts and at least some working knowledge of the broadcast industry or subject under complaint, non of your ‘rants’ on our hosts site have been based on either facts or knowledge, more like day-dreams and here-say.

            As for your assertions about what I said regarding Savile & the BBC. It was people like you who were using the victims of Savile (and others) as a weapon against the BBC, and the NHS for that mater. I have never defended Savile and you know it, my problem with such comments -and rants, from the likes of yourself- was and still is that they’re never matched by similar demands towards other organisations that have unwittingly given employment and/or abode to such deviants.

            As I said, your hatred of the BBC is so consuming that you can not see the whole picture, not because you can’t, because you choose not to.

            As for PSB in the UK, I have told you that both ITV and Ch4 already have a regulatory requirement for PSB content, but they already have problems delivering it due to advertising revenue being to thinly spread that has affected their income and thus ability to provide PSB content/airtime (go ask them for yourself if you don’t want to take it from me) – and indeed subscriptions fees are starting to get spread to thinly too, hence why the media companies are attempting to package their TV products with internet and other telecoms products etc.The only area that is still a strong market and expanding is pay-TV sports.

            Also how could any commercial company be expected to provide expensive PSB content as a condition of their broadcast licence, in other words they will get taken off air if they don’t comply if they might not make enough profit to do so [1], whilst also having to satisfy both their subscribers and the demands of their shareholders. If you think it could work why not ask Sky, Virgin and BT for comment as to what they think about having to provide free-to-air (content and/or airtime) for perhaps up to 6 hours per day, 7 days a week, on up to four of their main channels, much of it in prime-time -which is after all what the BBC does. I suspect their response will make the reputed “Hair-dryer” reaction, from certain ex premiership football manager, upon unwelcome ‘advice’ look rather tame!

            [1] hence why I suggested that even if the BBC was commercialised the TVL fee might need to survive. Either directly or indirectly via (an already suggested, many years ago) surcharge on pay-TV subscriptions

            And with that, as I suspect that our host has better things to do with his time, we will just have to agree to disagree, at least on this…

    • Bazman
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Why should we have rubbish advert filled TV just to placate middle aged UKIP supporters who do not watch TV anyway? They have little to say about the costs and bias by advertising streams and dross put out by many commercial stations.
      Next you will be telling us SKY subscriptions of up to and over a £100 are voluntary. As if.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        @Bazman; “Next you will be telling us SKY subscriptions of up to and over a £100 are voluntary. As if.”

        Of course they are, just as the TVL fee is, as I said way up, no one is being forced to watch TV! If you are suggesting, as I suspect you might be, that some people feel complied to buy from Sky because that is the only way to watch a certain sport then do not, the more people who refuse and go without will soon either drop the price Sky charge or return such sports to the Free to View broadcasters.

        I used to love watching live Test Match Cricket when it was still on Free to View channels but Sky have not had a penny out of me, the highlight and/or live radio commentary now suffice…

        • APL
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Jerry: “either drop the price Sky charge or return such sports to the Free to View broadcasters.”

          There is no such thing a ‘free to view’ broadcasters. The sports you claim are ‘free to view’ are paid for in part by ……. Oh, my Lord!!! ….. advertising.

          Unless you mean the BBC which of course isn’t ‘free to view’, because you are compelled to pay a TAX if you wish to do so.

    • William Gruff
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:14 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      You can indeed avoid having to pay the television licence by not watching television programmes as they are broadcast, and my wife and I do just that. What we cannot avoid is the annoyance arguably amounting to a campaign of harassment by otherwise unemployable goons working for Capita Business Services on behalf of the BBC, particularly annoying because we do not own a television set yet are presumed to be committing an offence.

      At the very least, the BBC should be prohibited from assuming that those of us who can live without the narcotic drip of television are necessarily suspects who merit threatening letters.

      • Bob
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

        What other business has to use the overburdened police and courts to sell it’s services?

        • APL
          Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Bob: “What other business has to use the overburdened police and courts to sell it’s services?”

          Excellent point.

          Perhaps BMW should be given the exclusive license to sell cars in the UK. Then enforce it through the courts?

          As Jerry continually posits, no one is forced to use a car, there are bus and train services laid on.

        • Jerry
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          @Bob; “What other business has to use the overburdened police and courts to sell it’s services?”

          Try illegally watching any entertainment, educational or sports media content (such as a bootlegged DVD), try defrauding Sky, Virgin or BT by hacking their encryption, and being found out, you will soon find out just how ready other businesses are to enforce the protection of their income through the courts…

          @APL; HMRC already have the exclusive license when it comes to the sale and use of motor cars and other vehicles in the UK, via sales taxes, fuel taxes, VED etc. The only difference is that with the TVL fee the income has been ring-fenced for the provision of PSB in the UK, and laterally collection responsibility has been passed -as a cost saving effort- to the BBC its self by way of an Agency.

          @Bob; @APL; please feel free to actually find a clue, then you might actually be able to formulate a coherent argument against the TVL fee, not just a rant against the BBC, many people do not like the TVL model but no one has yet come up with a better method of providing PSB in the UK that would still be fit for purpose.

          • APL
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “HMRC already have the exclusive license when it comes to the sale and use of motor cars and other vehicles in the UK, via sales taxes, fuel taxes, VED etc.”

            Your quoted point is irrelevant, because the HMRC is not a manufacturer of motor vehicles.

            HMRC does not have a licence to do anything in regard to the manufacturer of motor vehicles, yours is a classic ‘straw man argument’.

            Jerry: “please feel free to actually find a clue”

            Ah! here we go, descending into abuse again. If you are going to debate or discuss a thing, it helps if you do so in good faith.

  3. Roy Grainger
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    It is always amusing to see the likes of Margaret Hodge (with her grandstanding kangaroo court) and the Guardian leading the charge on this as etc ed. As long as individuals and companies do not break the law in their tax arrangements I can’t see the problem, if it is thought they should have paid more tax then it is obviously entirely the fault of the politicians and officials who wrote the existing laws in the first place. Having said that the specific allegations about HSBC do tend to show that the big banks are literally out of control with those at the top having no idea what is going on. .

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Roy Granger: “the big banks are literally out of control with those at the top having no idea what is going on.”

      Ignorance, or wilful disregard of the law is no defence.

      It’s time we saw some prosecutions. All we get are silly administrative fines, which the international banks treat as just a ‘cost of doing business’ the carry on breaking the law.

      It’s time some banking licences were revoked.

  4. Richard1
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The language is absurd, with politicians such as the ridiculous and overrated Margaret Hodge to the fore. George Osborne is also guilty, talking about pernicious ‘aggressive’ tax avoidance. If he wants to do that he should list tax avoidance which is and isn’t aggressive. Saving for a pension or through an ISA is presumably not ‘aggressive’. Investing in a green energy EIS or claiming subsidies for solar energy on a house? That’s probably OK as well. What about investing in one of Gordon Browns tax exempt film schemes? I should think that now counts as ‘ aggressive’. What about claiming entrepreneurs relief and paying only 10% tax on up to £10m of gain (a much lower rate than an entrepreneur’s cleaner might pay to use a famous comparison).

    What we need is a much clearer, simpler tax system. Let’s get rid of all the tinkering amendments (Osborne hasn’t been much better than Brown in this regard) and have flatter rates. That would give us a fairer and clearer system, much cheaper to administer and probably more revenues.

    • oldtimer
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      I agree with your points and with JR. Recent comments by some politicians, and also on BBC programmes, on tax avoidance have been muddled.

      That is probably deliberate because the aim appears to be to make “tax avoidance” socially unacceptable or “immoral” as someone said yesterday on a BBC lunchtime programme. It seems to me that there is a BBC campaign afoot to push this idea.

      • oldtimer
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        After posting my comment I came across this short article by Ian Martin on the new and interesting Cap-X website. I do think that something is afoot.

        http://www.capx.co/thought-for-the-day-hits-new-marxist-low/

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        oldtimer–THE problem is not the rubbish talked about individuals not voluntarily paying tax they do not need to but what multinationals do all the time via transfer pricing and loans at non market rates to pass profits to a lower corporate tax regime or to one where an affiliate is or has been incurring losses –re the latter “Tax Losses b/f” are valuable for this reason. If “aggressive tax avoidance” has any meaning at all that is it. Hard to legislate against especially given that we start with a low rate.

        • outsider
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

          Dear Leslie Singleton, It is not too hard if the political will is there. When corporation tax from banks dried up because of their losses, all parties agreed to impose new taxes on banks to make up some of the difference, even though the incidence of the new tax was manifestly unfair, in this case to UK-registered banking groups.
          For instance the General Anti-Avoidance Rule, which as Lifelogic points out is not entirely fair, could be used much more widely and creatively.
          Or the Government could simply legislate to make some payments to non-EU group companies non- deductible (eg interest, brand and patent fees) along with rents paid to non-EU companies on properties formerly owned by the UK company.
          But the will is often not there. You may recall how Gordon Brown’s Inland Revenue sold/outsourced much of its property portfolio to a company based in the Cayman Islands.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        @oldtimer; “It seems to me that there is a BBC campaign afoot to push this idea.”

        If so they are only picking up on what politicos have been saying for the last five or so years, were making tax avoidance socially unacceptable has been the agenda since before the 2007 financial crash.

        • oldtimer
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          No, there is a campaign afoot in which it sppears the BBC, the Guardian and the Labour party are co-ordinating their efforts – from Panorama to today`s PMQs. And it has acquired prominence because there is a GE imminent.

    • Timaction
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      John Major signed us up to the Maastricht Treaty without any referendum. This supports freedom of capital movement and encourages multi nationals to base their operations in lower tax Countries. Then you hear the legacy parties complaining about it! You couldn’t make it up. The Europhiles created the problem they now shout about.

      • Jerry
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        @Timaction: As if tax avoidance, aggressive or not, never mind illegal evasion, wasn’t around before the Maastricht Treaty, before the EEC, what has happened is that globalisation (not just “eurolisation”) has brought the issue/problem to the fore.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          Globalisation wasn’t around for the last few 100 years then?

          What the EU did/does is enable companies to move their operation around EU countries for tax purposes but continue to trade on the same basis. Before the EU this wasn’t possible in the same way

          • Jerry
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; Companies do that outside of any EU influence.

            Heck, you are not ‘alf going to be in for a shock should the day come and the UK does leave the EU and such practices carry on, you’ll have to find another scapegoat, perhaps we’ll need to pull out of NATO or the UN next?…

          • libertarian
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            I’ve been working and in business long before we were members of the EEC and I will still be afterwards.

            Your lack of understanding of the fact as pointed out many times now that this IS an EU issue as its VAT we’re talking about and VAT is an EU tax.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

            @libertarian; The facts would suggest otherwise.

            As for VAT, you do know what went before don’t you?…

          • libertarian
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:46 am | Permalink

            Jerry

            I suggest you go back to the beginning of the thread and remind yourself of what started this debate. Talking about tax “avoidance”. I pointed out that the EU vat rules allow a company such as a well know …………. company to actually be based in the UK & to sell products in the Uk but to register for VAT purposes in another country. Thereby not paying their vat in this country.

            This was the first big revelation about multinats not paying tax

            The EU has been so spooked by the uproar that it has now hastily and badly tried to pass legislation to deal with this, so I’m not sure what facts you think you know, but the reality of this is that before the EEC there was no vat so its not relevant to the debate. The horrible UK purchase tax prior to vat has no baring on the point at issue. As it happens I don’t have a problem with VAT as a tax, my point was about the tax avoidance potential of it due to EU rules.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            @libertarian; Nothing that didn’t happen before the UK joined the EEC/EC/EU, nothing that won’t be around after should the UK leave.

            Companies have always found ways of minimising their tax burden, it happens in all regions of the world, and always will. Just as there is VAT fraud or avoidance in the EU there is “Purchase tax” fraud or avoidance elsewhere. Look at the US, can companies and individuals not avoid the greater part of their Purchase tax liabilities by selling/buying out of State, is that not avoidance too?

        • APL
          Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          Jerry: “what has happened is that globalisation”

          Sigh. The EU is ‘globalisation’.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    MP particularly Tory ones complaining of tax avoidance and complete and utter idiots. Businesses have to minimise their tax in order to compete with other businesses that do. People should do it too. People and businesses spend and invest money far better than governments on average anyway.

    MPs fix the tax laws.If they thing they are too lax they should change the rules. Cartainly not knock people for complying with them but in innovative ways. The General Anti-Avoidance Rule (already introduced) is hugely damaging as the huge uncertainty of it discourages investments. It is a bit like a Zimbabwe tax – you pay whatever sum the government demands with menaces and after the event.

    Interestingly the MP’s remuneration, pension scheme, loss of office payments, employment of relatives and expenses rules were very effective tax avoidance, with special rules only applying to MPs.

    Simple & lower taxes will make us all better off and reduce the large number of lawyers and tax advisers we now need – so they can do something more productive. But first the state need to stop wasting so much money on pointless or even damaging drivel. The Coalition has made no real progress on this. Still pissing money away on “green” energy grants, the EU, and endless other pointless or damaging nonsense.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      Like housing benefits to private landlords instead of building more houses and collecting rents which is one of the states major costs?

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    A coherent and well presented case Mr Redwood. Unfortunately as ever with politicians you assume everyone plays fair and sticks to the spirit of the rules as presented above. This is evidently not the case.

    Best to stop rewarding behaviour (investing in the UK film industry), simplify the tax code, aim for flat rates of taxes and above all collect and spend less.

  7. alte fritz
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Tax avoidance seems usually to be something which other people do, never the interlocutor. I can well remember that in Mao’s China it was reported that the people joyously paid their taxes. Is that where we have come to?

    The best way to reduce tax avoidance is to lower taxes. That has been proven time and again.

  8. Kenneth R Moore
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    At the moment there seems to be little point in saving as the cost of borrowed money through ultra low interest rates is so low. This seems to be necessary to support Mr Redwood’s party’s ‘Long term economic plan’ or ‘pyramid scheme’ of channeling debt into consumption as it is more accurately described.
    Between the 1960’s and the present day money has lost over 90% of it’s face value…as a long term store of wealth it is pretty useless as the government is keen to help itself to steal our money through inflation.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Indeed “inflation tax” on top of all the others 20% vat, 45% income, 28% cgt, SDLT, council tax, fuel duty, motorist muggings, insurance tax, green taxes, landfill taxes, air taxes — its a wonder anyone had enough left to stay alive!

    • Jon
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      So it is your choice where you invest is it not? You choose to invest in cash which will looses it’s value against inflation over time. That doesn’t mean it’s a wrong decision for you but it is your choice to choose an investment that will loose value as the economy grows. It is quite reasonable to avoid the various levels of risk but don’t blame others because you want to avoid risk but want the same to grow at the level of other investments. Cake and eat it.

  9. eeyore
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The Civil War was fought on the principle that arbitrary taxation is illegal, so it is particularly dispiriting that many MPs and even Ministers are eager to demand it. The Prime Minister himself blurs the issue by talking about “aggressive” tax avoidance. And Mrs Margaret Hodge’s statements on the subject are frequently as offensive to liberty as they are bewildering to common sense. Whose side, one wonders, would she have been on at Marston Moor.

    The latest story about HMRC involves some 11oo people. It is not clear whether they are evading or avoiding tax, as so much of the coverage calls them merely “tax dodgers”, which might mean anything. Tax amounting to £135m has been recovered from them. In the context of the black economy, estimated at £120bn, this is just a rounding error. And compared with the tens of millions of ordinary people who habitually evade tax – from the small shopkeepers with their “back pocket money” that doesn’t go through the till, to the tradesmen who obligingly work for cash – the HMRC 1100 are insignificant too.

    I have a helpful proposal for those who believe we should pay more tax than the law demands. A tax demand is a minimum demand: let those who wish to pay more just do so. Let them form a club of like-minded people all pledged to adding a thou or two to the cheque they send HMRC. Millionaires like Mrs Hodge might add ten thou. Why, the club could be called a Hodge Fund! How much holier than the rest of us these splendid people would be, and how much we would admire them as they boasted like mad of their grand public spirit. Let them put their money where their mouths are, while the rest of us remain content with just obeying the law.

    • eeyore
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Sorry, should have said “the latest story about HSBC”.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed perhaps a tax cap of say £200K PA for individuals – if you pay that you have to submit no tax returns at all and get a gold star for you fine contribution.

      • Bazman
        Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Taxes are also a toll on services used such as security, infrastructure and education. The rich benefit from the state the most so pay the most.
        A point lost on you and others on this site.
        They are not making charity donations as you would like us to believe.

        • Know Dice
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          Not sure which country you live in but certain is not true in England.

          The “rich” get nothing for free (except may be the NHS) and have to pay for everything else.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Total cobblers Bazman

          The rich do not benefit most, they often pay vastly more and benefit the least.

          Most wealthy people don’t use the education system or the health service, they don’t get housing benefit, they don’t occupy social housing, they are the recipients of social services they pay more in council tax for exactly the same local services.

          Infrastructure such as roads and utilities is paid directly from the taxes and duties levied on the consumption of those services

          Why should I pay £50k to get my bins emptied whilst you pay £10 ?

          • libertarian
            Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            correction

            they AREN’T the recipients of social services

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

            libertarian: “Why should I pay £50k to get my bins emptied whilst you pay £10 ?”

            Because, your bins are ‘rich’ bins.

        • Edward2
          Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

          So in return Baz, the next time you talk about the rich and demand they should pay more tax, use the words “even more tax” because they already pay disproportionate amounts compared to others.
          The top 1% pay 26% of all income tax and the top 10% pay nearly half of all income tax.

        • Bazman
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

          Ah! The bin argument. How do you feel about no bin services and we all pay for our own refuse disposal? Fly tipping would be rife in particular on landowners, So a tenner? Get real.
          The rich benefit the most hence a progressive tax system, they use the most infrastructure, health and security to create and protect their wealth and are so vast users of these benefits like healthcare/education which their employees use for free. Make employers pay as they are beneficiaries via their business?
          We live and as we live in a democracy and so pay the most to protect it not at least for themselves.

          • libertarian
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:24 am | Permalink

            Bazman

            More drivel

            Business does ALREADY pay for their workers benefits thats why there’s a tax called Employers National Insurance which is 14% of salary…

            Business does already pay for local service its called Business Rates oh & Bazboid you do know that business HAVE to pay extra to have their bins emptied by private companies as local authorities only empty domestic bins “on the rates”.

            I have no problem with local services provided by a local authority I just don’t see any justification for me paying more for it than you just because I’m smarter and work harder

            As already pointed out wealthy people use LESS public service

            The people who pay the least are the people who benefit the most. Unemployment benefit, housing benefit, free healthcare, free education, child support etc

            Supporting the less well off costs us £168 billion per year paid for mostly by the wealth creators and vitally none of that is spent on middle income and above families

          • Edward2
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            What on earth are you rambling on about Baz?
            The rich use more services and so should pay more?
            Total nonsense.
            If you earn less than £25,000 a year you take out more than the taxes you pay in.

            Without the hugecamounts of taxes paid by big companies and the richest 10% we would be in big trouble.
            Most rich educate their children privately and use private hospitals.
            And some news for you Baz, if you run a business you pay business rates and you dont even get a bin emptied for free.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

            You can’t see the wood for the trees! Read my post again.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            libertarian; “business HAVE to pay extra to have their bins emptied by private companies as local authorities only empty domestic bins “on the rates”.”

            Indeed, and Fly-Tipping is on the rise, and has been since those changes were made, now not helped by silly and excessive “green taxes” on waste.

            “I have no problem with local services provided by a local authority I just don’t see any justification for me paying more for it than you just because I’m smarter and work harder”

            Oh that old “Poll Tax” argument, well good luck on that one! We all remember what happened to the last government/leader who attempted to impose that on the majority – I thought you wanted a right of centre government, not one that would likely be a lot further left that Blair and perhaps even Wilson.

            “The people who pay the least are the people who benefit the most. Unemployment benefit, housing benefit, free healthcare, free education, child support etc”

            I almost hate to ask, so what do you suggest, surely as long as such people are actively seeking re-employment you can’t expect them to pay for such core needs and services.

            “Supporting the less well off costs us £168 billion per year paid for mostly by the wealth creators and vitally none of that is spent on middle income and above families”

            I think it is called “Living in a civilised society”…

          • Bazman
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

            I have challenged you a number of times on how long you would last in your ‘ideal’ society libtard? Not long I suspect.

          • APL
            Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

            libertarian: “you just because I’m smarter and work harder”

            Funny, good point. Cutting too. 🙂

          • APL
            Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “Indeed, and Fly-Tipping is on the rise,”

            The underlying cause being, the EU mandated ban on using landfill sites to dispose of domestic, commercial and industrial waste.

            Peoples’ behaviour changes because of incentives. Disposing of rubbish in an environmentally cost effective manner ( I mean land fill ) has been made too expensive ( outlawed therefore price is infinite ) and an expensive not very green ( not that I care about CO2 emissions ) substitute, incineration has been introduced. Of course the fly ash from that has to be disposed of somewhere.

            But in my opinion, it is a waste to use energy to burn something that you could bury and harvest Methane from its natural decomposition.

        • APL
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “The rich benefit the most hence a progressive tax system, ”

          Firstly, define rich, please.

          If you mean someone who earns a salary of £100,000 a year and pays 40% tax, that ‘rich’ person pays £40,000 per year income tax.

          If your poor person who earns a salary of £10,000 a year pays no tax ( because his salary falls below his tax allowance), how can you claim that the ‘rich’ man benefits most?

          Take, at random, for example, a procedure in the NHS.

          Treatment of UGI bleed, with all the consultants, surgeons, nurses, nurse auxiliary, cleaners, endoscopes, drugs, five days food and accommodation, heating of the wards, local authority rates, capital expenditure of the surgeries, building and equipment, probably comes in at a conservative £10,000.

          The rich man has paid £40,000 for his £10,000 treatment.

          How much do you think the poor man has paid for the same value treatment?

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

            APL: ” that rich person pays £40,000 per year income tax.”

            Sorry my error, he gets the same tax allowance as the poor man, so he pays thirty thousand pounds a year.

            Therefore, his £10,000 surgical procedure on the NHS cost him, well £10,000.

            Ho much do you think the poor man has paid for the same value treatment?

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

            Grrrr!! Sorry Mr Redwood for cluttering up your comments with corrections. It’s just too much fun taking Bazmans’ arguments apart. But, yes, I should take more care.

            In the hypothetical scenario I put forward, the rich man pays £30,000 for a £10,000 procedure.

          • Bazman
            Posted February 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            The rich benefit the most by living in a society that enables them and many others to earn a 100k a year. In many societies the person in this job may well be there just because of his connections and not abilities. The infrastructure/ education benefits him also as without this a 100k job would not really exist for many. And so on..
            Tell me how it is possible to live on less than £500 a month by work or benefits in this country without living in cramped squalor five to room? The third world is not cheap either or rather it is if you live like a person in the third world. Here that option is not real.
            The tax system and the standard of living make it this amount so we are not living in a second or third world country.
            You would be in effect be living in Russia here without this. In general a country with poor housing, poverty wages, massive resources plundered by an elite few and low taxes..Or maybe they are just lazy and jealous of the oligarchs living in London? Not jealous they don’t believe there are any. What does that tell you about freedom of the press and the BBC?

    • Qubus
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Do these people not know that a limited company is by law required to attempt to maximise the profit that it makes ? If they want to make some forms of tax avoidance illegal, they should re-brand it as tax evasion. The whole thing reeks of hypocracy.

      On a slightly different topic, I was sorry to have to disagree with Mark Littlewood, who usually talks good sense. He complains about the 65+ bonds being used to buy votes. However, what about the Help-to-Buy scheme? What about mortgages being almost below inflation, so that money can be borrowed at negligible real rates of interest? What about the fact that pensioners frequently rely in the interest on their meager savings to supplement their pension? What about when the economy recovers and wage inflation takes off again? OAPs are not generally in a position to build-up their savings again; that money is lost for ever.

  10. agricola
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Stating that income from pensions is tax free is very misleading. You may not pay tax on income you put into a pension scheme, but you sure as hell pay for it on the annuity income. The exception these days is that with government’s rape of pension funds and to providers ripping off large percentages, the resultant annuity income could be so miserably small that no income tax is due.

    I think that before you get all holier than thou about tax evasion or avoidance, you should detail all the tax dodges you have voted yourselves as MPs over the years. Avoidances that are not available to the citizens who pay for it via their taxes.

    When MPs are treated like the self employed in terms of earnings, expenses and second houses, I will respect what you have to say. Until such time you all stand condemned in my eyes.

    Tax might be better on peoples lifestyle choices through all their purchases with no exceptions and no subsidised meals and drinks. That way we pay by our own choice and industry plus the individual does not need an accountancy support system. Being aware of the cost daily might make the citizen less likely to wish to support the excess of government we currently suffer under.

  11. Ian wragg
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Why shouldn’t we avoid tax. The EU employees have myriad scams for avoiding tax legally. When you get money you only waste it on aid and benefits for foreigners. I bought a UK manufactured car from a tax free source and only had to pay VAT on the purchase price. I saved £3. I didn’t feel a bit guilty. We have a duty to our family not to a bloated government wasting money on nonsense. If the money was perceived to be wisely spent you might collect more.

  12. Ian wragg
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Saved £ 3000.

  13. Mark B
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    So why do we need all these taxes ?

    If we did not have all these taxes, and relief’s and whatever, then we would not have as big a problem. Just a theory, but one I believe in.

    Why should it fall to our Parliamentarians to set both the kinds, and rates of various taxes ? People who themselves have in the past, made ample use of various tax relief’s. Only to find out that they were not permitted, and had to pay the money back.

    Is it not time, that the people decided what taxes the government should raise and what we wish the money to be spent on ?

    Allowing political parties, especially before a General Election, the ability to bribe us with our own, and sometimes borrowed money, is akin, in my view, to bribery.

    How is this allowed ?

    It is this constant belief that government can do this, and government can do that, which is destroying us.

    All elections are now, are just a thin gloss of so called democracy, that allows those who win the ‘beauty contest’ to spend money as they see fit. It is no longer about policies, as many are now covered by the EU and international regulations, not to forget that, once a political party is in office, it has no legal obligation to honour its promises.

  14. JoeSoap
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    50% score for this.

    On the one hand, personally, whether I am R Branson or JoeSoap I van only save £x in my ISAs, £y in my pension and save £z tax, so I am on a level playing field.

    Corporately, if I am a large multinational coffee chain I can set up a company in a tax-free jurisdiction and through lower corporate taxes grow faster and generally be able to knock JoeSoap into a cocked hat competitively and that’s not the way it should be.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Joesoap

      The problem with your analogy is that its meaningless. German companies based in Germany and Finish companies based in Finland are allowed to some extent to reinvest profit BEFORE CT is paid for instance . Uk companies can’t do that. So to level the playing field you would have to have global, every country signed up to exactly the same tax regime. You also conveniently overlook those overseas corporations that choose to set up here to take advantage of certain benefits of trading here that would have no reason to be here with their jobs and economic benefits.

      I don’t know of a single multinational coffee company based in a tax free country, could you expand on that.

      etc ed
      As JR has pointed out a couple of times now, the problem of so called “aggressive avoidance” is mostly with multinational operation and that of course relies on tax authorities in many countries.

      By the way nearly all middle East countries Sri Lanka, Bermuda, Chile, Jersey, Cayman Isle, Anguilla, British Virgin Isles have a 0% rate of Corporation Tax.

      All designed to attract inward investment

  15. alan jutson
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The simple fact is John, our Tax and Benefits system is far, far, too complicated.

    The fact that the rules change with every Budget, every year, leads to ever more confusion.

    Far too many people are either overpaying, underpaying, or are so confused, they delay with their returns and get fined.

    Even the PAYE system is confusing with its numerous numbers and letters.

    I guarantee if you were to ask a PAYE Employee what exactly their tax code meant to them in financial terms, few would be able to answer correctly.

    The HMR&C tax helpline varies in quality from useless to excellent, and depends entirely on the person answering, indeed so variable is the advice given, you actually are left wondering if they have all been on the same training course.

    Given the recent changes in policy, if you telephone or write into HMRC, I guarantee you will never speak or communicate to that same area/regional office, let alone the same person again, as the centrally controlled system pushes your phone call or letter out to any one of a number of regional offices automatically on a work/load basis.

    The whole system is failing, and needs revision.

    The clue should be that if you require 17,000 pages of explanation for anything, then its completely unfit for purpose.

    In short it would be better to stop and start again from scratch.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson

      100% agree with you

    • stred
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Math/Physics question for JR bloggers. When I had completed my tax return this time the reference number was a combination of 35 letters and numbers and was so long my wife had to run a finger along and read it out so that I could write it. Given that there are 10 numerical digits and 26 letter digits the number could have identified individual CO2 molecules in how big a volume at atmospheric pressure. (no answer available yet)

  16. NIck
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Why is tax evasion automatically bad?

    It’s not. It depends what you do with the money.

    Look at Greece. The state isn’t providing any services, and yet you’re saying that its moral that the Greeks pay tax.

    So let me sell you a car, you send me the money, and that’s it. No car. Must be moral right?

    • bigneil
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Very similar to us paying our taxes for services. Taxes are going up, services down, yet more and more freeloaders walk in for their taxpayer funded, non-contributory lives. Billions given away in “foreign aid”, yet cuts to the Police etc. When do we reach “tipping point” and all we are doing is handing all our taxes over, just so our incomers can watch their new slaves go to work?

      • Jerry
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        @bigneil; “yet more and more freeloaders walk in for their taxpayer funded, non-contributory lives.”

        You seem to be complaining that far to many ‘oligarchs’ are coming to live in this country, but then again I suspect many if not all of them do actually pay several types of taxes in the UK. As for the other migrants, many of them seem to be coming to the UK to do work that far to many of the indigenous population don’t want to get out of bed to do, at least not for the going rate for the job, preferring to sit around watching Daytime TV whilst enjoying their “taxpayer funded, non-contributory lives”…

    • outsider
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Not necessarily bad Nick but a criminal offence, for which punishment is mandated by a freely elected Parliament. Evasion is different from avoidance.
      To take an absurd example, if 40 per cent of Germans had evaded or refused to pay their mandated taxes during the third Reich, that might well have been a very good thing for Europe as a whole. But it would have been very bad for them (in this world at least).

  17. Alan Wheatley
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    Avoidance and evasion are two common English words used as technical jargon in relation to taxation. They work well as a convenient way of differentiating between two fundamentally different concepts, both relating to taxation. As with all jargon, you have to learn it before you can understand it.

    It does not help when the media regularly confuse the two words, sometimes in the same sentence. The BBC, in particular, given their position (and, historically, status in the correct use of English) are a notable offender.

    Also, politicians are frequently heard advocating policy that applies equally to avoiders and evaders.

    Ministers, and Shadow Ministers, who criticise avoiders are showing themselves up in the worst possible light, as it is in their hands to change any avoidance that they think should not be happening. Having failed to write the tax laws to give the result they wish to have they then condemn avoiders for following their flawed legislation. I hope the smart electorate know the best response: knowing who to avoid.

  18. Bert Young
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Being prudent with ones income and assets is to be commended . It’s a struggle to accumulate wealth and it is very easy to squander it . My wife often comments about how much cheaper one product is compared to another and she is always pleased if she can get a bargain ! . The management of income from a tax point of view has always been a quagmire as far as I am concerned . Accountants always advised me on my business and personal affairs and , to this day , always completed my tax return ; the time and detail required were specialist and had little or no bearing on whether my business was successful or competitive .

    I have lived and experienced what it is like to live in a country where the only form of taxation was on the purchases one made . The running costs of that country were always covered by this form of revenue and everyone considered the method to be fair . By working hard and saving I was able to return to this country and have since not had to borrow or to raise a mortgage . When I was faced with my first tax return I immediately turned to an expert because understanding the detail required was beyond me .

    I believe that taxing purchases is an alternative to the complex system we now have . It is not “rocket science” to be able to reconcile what would be necessary to cover our outgoings and liabilities and to collect the amount via the High Street . It would rid us of the industry that is required to administer our present system and release the talents involved to other more fruitful activities .

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Bert Young

      But we DO have a a purchase tax already. its called VAT and on most things its 20%.

      If you are suggesting removing ALL other taxes and replacing with VAT, the rate would have to be about 99% in order to make up the shortfall

  19. Trevor Wilson
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I sometimes like what you say Mr Redwood, but there is are some fundamental flaws in this all.

    The very people who advise the Government and help form our tax laws are the exact same people who help their clients evade paying tax through loopholes.

    Then we have the cast iron proof of corruption within Governmental and civil service circles – all in the name of politics.

    It has already been said above, the tax laws are too complex – probably designed deliberately so and the truth is, the tax laws need a radical reform.

    Just make it nice and simple. Scrap personal tax allowances, tax and savings, inheritance tax, directors dividends etc etc etc (far to many to list here).

    Anyone and everyone that earns money pays a sliding percentage scale of income tax on every penny they earn (% dependant on their annual salary). All Companies that sell products or services in the UK pay Corporation tax on every penny.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Trevor Wilson

      Couple of errors in your argument

      tax evasion is illegal so I’m sure that the people who set tax law aren’t also advising on illegal schemes

      I agree that tax is too complex however

      there’s no such thing as Directors dividends. Dividends are paid ( and taxed) to shareholders. If you scrap dividends every pension fund, savings account and the entire stock market would most likely collapse, so not a very smart idea

      You want to double tax every sale ( oh and who on earth do you think would pay that ? )

      Example currently

      Trevor buys a new computer from (retailer ed) cost £700 plus 20% vat £140

      (retailer ed) sells enough PC’s that they make a profit then they pay corporation tax of 21% on profit THEN they distribute shareholder dividend, recipients pay income tax at the higher rate 45% on those dividends

      Trevors new scheme

      Trevor buys a pc from (retailer ed) cost £700 plus vat 20% £140 plus CT 21% £147

      Company makes a profit but pays no more tax, no dividends paid no tax collected

      Do you see how your scheme may not work?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Trevor–50 years ago, while qualifying (Arthur Andersen for my sins,) when the tax laws were infinitely simpler, I was taught that, even then, simplification, certainly anything resembling all round instant simplification, was impossible because of the effect of the accumulated tax laws for all past years–say 10 years to let it all flush through and we had to know the law as it applied foe each past year. Admittedly this was from the point of view of a practioner and not the taxpayer but even so. God knows what the position is like now and just think of all that talent wasted on unnecessary regulation to put it mildly.

  20. Know-Dice
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    It’s not “avoid” tax, it’s tax minimization…

    When I see the Government and Council spending the peoples money in a wise and efficient manner and HMRC and the Government simplify the tax regime rather than empire building, then I will not feel so hard done by, by the theft of my hard earned income…

    and on another subject:

    I notice that the leader of the SNP is whining about austerity again, may we should replace the term “austerity” with “living within our means”….and not incurring debts that our children and their children will have to pay back…

  21. Vanessa
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    At last someone who knows the difference – please tell the BBC JR ! I am sure most of them have ISAs etc. which avoids paying tax but of course they are whiter than white.

    People should be allowed to keep more of the money they earn and if the government cannot keep within its means – tough !!! We all have to do it so why can’t they? It is our money after all.

    When are we going to see a SMALLER state and REDUCED taxes ???

    • alan jutson
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Vanessa

      The BBC were paying a number of their celebrities and presenters for years their fees/salaries, though personal tax type companies, so that they could minimise their personal tax.

      Pot and kettle spring to mind.

      I wonder if it is still going on ?.

      • Vanessa
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Alan – I think the BBC should be broken up and made to fund itself. The EU gives it humungous amounts of money.

        Even MPs set themselves up as limited companies so as to avoid paying tax – perhaps they should look in the mirror more often !!

        • Jerry
          Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

          @Vanessa; “I think the BBC should be broken up and made to fund itself. The EU gives it humungous amounts of money. “

          An often repeated assertion but as yet no one has ever come up with a valid citation or reference for the large sums of money suggested.

          • Edward2
            Posted February 13, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

            Google it Jerry, the info on EU grants and loans is all available for you to read about.

          • Jerry
            Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; No need as I have actually researched this in the past, read the official documents and thus understand the whys and wherefores of it, not just the here-say, so unless you care to explain the often repeated claims about humongous amounts of money – bearing in mind any fit-for-broadcast TV programming content costs what most people outside of the industry will think a ‘humongous amounts of money’ for the length of the programme.

            Hence why I said no one has ever come up with a valid citation or reference for the large sums of money suggested, as indeed you did not either, after all if you know that there are valid citations or references that prove the assertions then you could point the way and that doesn’t necessarily mean posting a URL, an official BBC or EU document reference Name/Number will do…just in case I have managed miss some vital and condemning evidence…

          • APL
            Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Jerry: “No need as I have actually researched this in the past,”

            Argument from authority makes your point of view, irrelevant. Either give us fact and figures, you have them to hand after all, you’ve ‘researched’ this topic, or admit you are wrong.

            Thanks.

        • libertarian
          Posted February 13, 2015 at 12:51 am | Permalink

          Vanessa

          Could you explain how an MP or anyone else setting up as a limited company is avoiding paying tax?

          Reply Indeed – I let that go as it seemed absurd rather than a serious criticism

          • APL
            Posted February 16, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

            libertarian: “Could you explain how an MP or anyone else setting up as a limited company is avoiding paying tax?”

            Perhaps because there is a financial advantage to setting yourself up ( MPs being nominally self employed, as are GPs ) as a company.

            The advantage being you can pay less tax.

            Legal reduction in your or my tax bill is …. Legal. I don’t particularly object to MPs doing what they are alleged to do.

            It’s legal, or they’d (should) be prosecuted.

            I object to the BBC presenting the act of arranging your affairs in a legal manner to minimise your tax liability as, somehow morally wrong, and by slur and innuendo, illegal.

            It’s not.

  22. Kenneth
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Very good post which exposes Labour/BBC’s ridiculous position on this matter.

    We need to get tax rates way down for all, including for companies and we need to simplify the system.

    The current rate of tax is extreme and the regime that is presiding over it is, by definition extremist.

    We are being coached by biased media with the connivance of socialists into accepting this mad rate of tax. The only saving grace is that many other countries are even madder with even higher rates.

  23. Denis Cooper
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Apart from a few simple cases such as “Don’t smoke or drink or use petrol and you can avoid paying the duties on those items” it generally costs something to put suitable arrangements in place so that you can legally avoid paying tax and/or attract subsidies from other people who are paying tax.

    Hence the smaller number with high incomes and/or wealth are more able to do it and benefit, while the much greater number with low incomes and/or wealth pay for it:

    “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”

    etc ed

    Reply Many people have pension and ISA saving.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Even pensions cost in management fees, as newspapers like to remind us, and ISA’s are not always a particularly good deal; especially compared to the deals that some people get for having windmills erected on their estates …

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      JR: “Many people have pension and ISA saving.”

      Yes, and the government you support and it’s predecessors have driven down the interest on these tax shelters to the extent it is hardly worth saving anything in the UK at all.

      Then, from the opposite end, the government you support and it’s predecessors have destroyed the value of our currency by more than 9000% in a century, all the while claiming that interest at 2.0% per annum is good for the economy.

      That is a lie, and anyone who propagates that lie should (a) be ashamed of themselves, and (b) be automatically disqualified from political office or the civil service..

  24. DaveM
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    I fully understand your argument Mr R, but it’s the moral side of it which is the issue. Agreed, the companies and super-rich are only trying to keep the maximum amount of money they can, as we all do. Unfortunately the corporations don’t pass the savings on to the consumer: they use the money to make themselves the biggest corporation around, buying out smaller firms, thus monopolising the market and enabling themselves to hike their prices still further in the absence of any real competition.

    There’s a big difference, though, between that, and normal people wanting to ensure they don’t live their retirement in poverty or having to pay a mortgage (to a big rich corporation!!)

    What irks people the most is that the tax avoiders we hear about are the organisations and people that don’t actually need the extra money, but who still use services paid for by taxpayers. And said taxpayers are having to pay more tax to compensate for the hole left by the billions of pounds which are NOT paid by the aforementioned tax-avoiders!

    • david L
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      My thoughts entirely, Dave M. I read that the building in Bedford Square where the HMRC Tribunals deliberate is owned by an off-shore company. So we pay the rent, the company makes a profit but, evidently legally, escapes making a contribution to the UK Treasury. This situation may acceptable to many contributors here but to me this is unethical. To compare the avoidance of UK tax liability in this situation to individual citizens investing in ISAs tells me more about the character of the comparer than they may wish to divulge.

  25. Dan H.
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    One obvious reform here is to reduce the size of the tax code. A useful analogy here is the recent policy and behaviour of the BSD Project coders; these are people who are looking after a UNIX-like computer operating system. Their stated policy is one of minimalisation, and they actively try to reduce the amount of computer code involved in the project.

    The smaller the codebase the easier it is to debug, and the less space for bugs to hide in.

    A similar philosophy needs applying to the UK tax code, and indeed to all laws. The smaller the corpus of UK law, the easier it is to apply and the harder it is to find loopholes, since those that do exist are more obvious and easier to detect.

    A good example here is how alcoholic drinks are taxed in the UK. Looking at HMRC’s wonderfully informative page on the subject, I see no fewer than fourteen separate categories for alcoholic beverages, comprising a byzantine web of beverage types and alcohol concentration bands. It is really quite remarkably silly to behold. A simple duty based on how much potable alcohol is actually sold, regardless of the base carrier medium, would be easier to apply and so much simpler to use.

  26. DaveM
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    PS – if I put my wages in to a pension fund or ISA I’ve already paid tax on that money anyway!!!

  27. John E
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    To paraphrase Sen. Ron Paul’s comments when questioning Tim Cook of Apple:
    “If politicians want to see who is responsible they should bring in a giant mirror”

  28. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Many of those who talk loudest about tax avoidance are hypocrites. Do as I say not as I do is their modus operandi. etc ed

  29. Atlas
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Good post, as usual, John. What I find insideous is the tendency for retrospective legislation. I didn’t know that time machines were available for all us non-Ministers to divine the view from the future of what we are doing now!

  30. Colin Hart
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Evading taxes is illegal.

    Avoiding taxes is perfectly legitimate.

    Politicians are the last people who should be telling us what is ‘morally repugnant’. They are the ones who dream up the legal avoidance schemes. If they don’t like those schemes, they should change the law.

  31. behindthefrogs
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    There are many taxes, licences, allowances etc that should quite simply be merged with other existing systems. For example:

    Replace the winter fuel allowance by a simple increase in the old age pension during the winter months. This would make it subject to income tax for the richer recipients.

    Get rid of car tax and raise fuel duty by a comparable amount.

    Get rid of employees’ NICs and recover the loss of revenue through income tax.

    Get rid of employers’ NICs and recover the loss of revenue through corporation tax.

    These are just a few of many examples each of which has many other advantages besides reducing the opportunities for tax avoidance and evasion.

  32. Malcolm Browne
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    While the government wastes MY taxes on green rubbish and overseas aid, I will AVOID tax as much as is humanly possible.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      Quite agree and also on people who like to lounge on the dole. Especially those that actually choose to work part time now whilst getting tax credits etc which top their ‘wages’ up to more than someone working full time!! The welfare state is out of control and I hate the fact my husband is paying for (others ed) to do half the hours he has to and receive more money than he does. Their lifestyle is better than ours and we are paying for it. We have ‘disabled’ people here who are simply not disabled and claiming mobility while they run around like children. They have nice new cars and manage a couple of holidays abroad every year. Nice work if you can get it!

  33. Bernard Otway
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    I have always been of the opinion that Tax is legalised theft because most of what politicians use it for is to BRIBE voters and other stupidities like Foreign Aid,where I now reside for the last 14 months I have seen with my own eyes and questions what happens to it,which because of their silence makes liars of most politicians their employees overseas see this to
    and maybe tell them,BUT they act like the three monkeys see no evil etc.
    And by the way while I was still there I saw the black economy at full throttle being offered
    CASH only deals,I dont blame those who offer it OR those who take it like others have said institute a Flat low tax rate and collect far more

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Bernard Otway: “I have always been of the opinion that Tax is legalised theft because most of what politicians use it for is to BRIBE voters and other stupidities like Foreign Aid, ..”

      Yes, therefore making compulsory tax ……. (scary word), IMMORAL.

  34. The Prangwizard
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    There is something unsavoury, if not malevolent, about using tax evasion and tax avoidance in the same sentence, as if they were one and the same, as Cameron did in PMQ’s today. Miliband also refers to avoidance as if it were illegal. You would expect this from Miliband but Cameron and Osborne jumped on this populist bandwagon of ‘cracking down’ on avoidance some time ago because they thought – if they did in fact think about it at all – that it might bring some voter support their way. Another example of Cameron’s irresponsibility.

    It appeals to the envious and stokes social division, and it may well be that it will be coming back to bite them, and your party as a whole. The questions from the Labour benches nearly all referred to avoidance, not evasion, requiring Cameron to attempt to clarify, but most people won’t notice and probably now see difference between the two.

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Careless of me – the final words should read ‘probably now see no difference between the two’.

  35. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Clause 4 was removed by the British Labour Party itself, yet it failed to remove the peripheral accompanying attitudes based on mardy envy and pubescent conceptional distortion and over-reaction.

    So… lacking a base ideology yet only armed with lefty-populist taunts, it latches on to any kind of headline ” agin the rich. ”
    Tax evasion and avoidance are not confined to the rich. Labour knows this. But grasps at straws, jealous of the success of the political and economic system its founding fathers so despised.
    It is high time Labour politicians grew up.Their traditional voters increasingly mature see their behaviour, policies and taunts as teenage.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      Stopping benefits for being late for a job centre appointment, pursuing benefit cheats but not tax cheats whilst taking large amounts of cash from the rich to further rip off the working poor and the middle classes. The unemployed man making a tenner cash in hand is the same as large scale tax evasion by a rich elite as deluded nonsense.
      That how many Labour voters and the population increasingly see the Tories ideology. What is there not to despise in this. Its high time you got real CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON.

      • libertarian
        Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Bazman

        You live in a fantasy world

        HMRC estimate for cash in hand work illegally obtained is £150 billion per year. Not only does this deprive the Treasury but it unfairly competes with legitimate small business

        HMRC estimate of corporate tax evasion is £80 billion per year

        So on the tax fiddling scale you are entirely wrong, the individaul working person is stealing far more ( nearly double ) corporates

        HMRC recovered £500 million in unpaid tax from SME’s last year

        HMRC are currently clawing back £3.65 billion per quarter from corporate tax evasion

        • Bazman
          Posted February 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

          Total pants Estimates go from £2 billion a year upwards. The most recent estimate of the ‘tax gap’ (the difference between what HMRC collect and what they think should be collected) estimated that £4 billion a year is lost to tax evasion and a further £4 billion to the ‘hidden economy’. Within this, they estimate that £1.3 billion is lost to ‘ghosts’, those who have earnings from employment or self-employment and fail to declare any of this income, and £1.8 billion is lost to ‘moonlighters’, those who pay tax on their main job through PAYE but have a second job or additional income from self-employment. Of course, not all of these are tradesmen. A report from a parliamentary committee back in 2008 identified the three key ‘areas of risk’ in the hidden economy (ie where HMRC are most at risk of tax being lost) as self-employed people, such as builders and decorators, who often receive cash payments; individuals who trade on the internet; and buy-to-let landlords.
          last year i got a couple of grand for labouring in London and declared the tax and NI I might add. This idea of everyone fiddling their tax is like saying everyone is thief so there are no thieves.

    • Bazman
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      50 k for dinner with Dave? I wonder how much a billion would get you and laughably how much protest from Tories should such protest should an amount be offered to Milliband for a fag coffee with him get? Nothing? Oh! stop.
      What else is for sale in this teenage democracy CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON!

  36. BeeCee
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Today on PMQ’s Mr Miliband again played the man rather than the ball.

    Tax avoidance is legal but tax evasion is not.

    I am allowed to avoid paying tax in a legal way.

    We all know, or should know, that wealthy people put money into Swiss Bank accounts to avoid scrutiny and/or tax. As this loophole closes they will find somewhere else to stash it. Governments, like the Coalition, are making such opportunities less and less available.

    So, other than playing the man, what is the problem?

    Why is this a shock now?

  37. ian
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Most people are guilty of Tax evasion at sometime in their life, it dose not matter if it £10 or £10 million pounds it all the same. If you earn more than £200 a week and wash somebody car for £10 and do not declare it, that tax evasion, if you sell a second hand car and do not declare that tax evasion also selling thing on the internet, if you take any form of money and do not declare it tax evasion. The only time you can take money from someone and not pay tax is as a gift and it must not be over £3000 and that person which has gifted £3000 pounds in one year he must inform the taxman if he gifts anymore apart from family which also limited.

    One person or entity stands out on tax evasion is the son of god the entity that most people look to in times of trouble, a ture believe in tax evasion and not paying tax but he would always pay his bills for service he received from his king or tax on thing that he bought.etc ed

    • Bazman
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Interesting to see how many right whingers like you take such a lax attitude on copyright such file sharing on the internet with the files not existing in any one country.
      How do you propose to stop that as no doubt you see it as anti business and not freedom fighting as you do tax evasion.

    • Newark Man
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

      Ian , you are completely wrong with regard to your little piece on tax evasion.

  38. Mondeo Man
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Simple

    Tax all leftists at 80% and the rest of us at 15%

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Yes and give them a sticker to let everyone know they are paying more than their fair share too. I’ll wager that not too many will qualify for a sticker.

      Those that wish to pay tax should be allowed to pay more if they so choose. Those that want to look after their own should be encouraged do to so as well.

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Narrow Shoulders: “Those that want to look after their own should be encouraged do to so as well.”

        They are allowed to pay more, if they so wish.

        If tax avoidance is a practice employed to legally reduce your tax bill, then Lefties could practice, I don’t know what you’d call it, (tax negligence?) and arrange their tax affairs in a manner such that they pay extortionate amounts more tax more than they are legally obliged to do.

        But they don’t. Hypocrites.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 14, 2015 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      @Mondeo Man; “Tax all leftists at 80% and the rest of us at 15%”

      Not to hot on percentages are you! 🙂

      Seriously, would that not just cause a sort of 1970s style “Brain Drain”, although it might be better to call it a ‘Sweat & Brawn Drain! The UK would have to leave the EU and secure our boarders, not to keep immigrants out but keep prospective emigrants in.

      It’s not just rich right-wingers on the Costa’s you know, quite a few hard working and retired Brits with leftist views like sunning themselves and having a siesta too…

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: ” would that not just cause a sort of 1970s style “Brain Drain”, although it might be better to call it a ‘Sweat & Brawn Drain!”

        Couldn’t happen too soon! The less deluded lefties in our country the better.

        Now of course, all you’d need to do is advertise the 15% rate world wide and set immigration targets to those in the top quantile of their countries university system, and we’d be inundated with intelligent, industrious ‘righties’ who’d be prepared to migrate to the UK tax friendly sterling zone, our economy would thrive, and our competitors taking all our lefties would slowly circle the plughole of wrong headed, corporatist, leftist ( but I repeat myself ), moribund Keynesian economics.

        Come to think of it Jerry, that might be one of your better ideas!

      • APL
        Posted February 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        Jerry: “Not to hot on percentages are you!”

        Actually, it’s you that aren’t very good at arithmetic, Jerry. The percentages that ‘Mondeo man’ recommends, were for the tax rates to be applied to those sections of the population who advocate higher taxes, and the rest of us who don’t.

        Not the proportion of the population, that you seem to think.

        Jerry: “Not to hot…”

        And since we are all in pedantic mode, you don’t seem to be that cute with English grammar and spelling either.

        The correct word you were unsuccessfully grasping for is ‘too’.

  39. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I think it is called shopping around.There nothing rotten in the state which will break it to bits and I do not like the connotations by Ed. Tax avoidance is unfair but not illegal , so why not scrutinise the loopholes and stop arguing about it.

    • Newark Man
      Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

      It is about time that Politicians and Journalists of all political persuasions realised that;

      “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the Treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

      So Tax owed is a matter of law not morals. So avoidance is legal and evasion is not. Stop mixing the two up, they are not inter-changeable.

      If Politicians had not had the propensity to take so much and at the same time make our tax laws so complicated maybe we would be in a better place. Politicians of all Political parties are guilty of pandering to the lowest common denominator (envy and populism) and making our Tax laws both excessively complex, expensive to collect often acting as a disincentive to the potential benefit of all.

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      Margaret Brandreth-J: “Tax avoidance is unfair but not illegal ,

      Correct. Although it’s not ‘unfair’.

      Margaret Brandreth-J: ” so why not scrutinise the loopholes and stop arguing about it.”

      Because our politicians through ignorance, malice or even straightforward bovine stupidity create the tax loopholes. Which companies legally and rightfully exploit.

      It is actually immoral to give more to the government than you are legally obliged to, when we see examples of grasping self interest ( e.g. misuse of MPs expenses, ( always it seems within the rules set by themselves )), of the political elite and incompetence of the civil service and local authorities in the management of the British economy, on the scale we do.

  40. petermartin2001
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    There’s a spectrum of tax avoidance/evasion strategies which consist of giving up smoking (John’s example) on the one end to downright lying and false accounting on the other.

    In the middle of our monochromatic spectrum is a rather large grey area.

    Profit shifting is one very easy method which is usually considered to be ‘grey’ by accountants and other apologists for multinational businesses but quite ‘black’ by the general public. Fixing that should be the top of every party’s list of things to do, but it never quite gets done.

    Is that because it’s considered just too hard?

  41. Bazman
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    There are many fans of Russia and Russians on this site and within the Tory government so
    why don’t more people follow Gérard Depardieu’s example and take Russian citizenship to save tax and open businesses in this fine country? Russia has a flat 13 percent personal income tax rate, two percentage points lower than Hong Kong.

    • libertarian
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      Bazboid

      Probably for the same reason you don’t live in the socialist utopia that is North Korea

      I mean in the worlds most perfectly socialist country North Korea the average salary is $1.50 per month however it costs $15 per month for a family to live. In order to get by the Koreans have had to establish illegal free market trading in order to make up their wages to a living wage.

      So when are you emigrating to the People Paradise Bazzy?

      • Bazman
        Posted February 13, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Russia has extreme crony capitalism not socialism, so just the place for you libtard. How long do you think you would last?

        • APL
          Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

          Bazman: “Russia has extreme crony capitalism not socialism,”

          It is in dispute that corporate and state alliance that you suggest exist in Russia is capitalism at all. Ditto the UK. It’s more (authoritarianism ed), which is essentially Socialism with a different name.

          But anyway, you as usual answered a different question to the one libertarian asked; ‘when are you emigrating to the People'[s] republic of North Korea?

          If it’s so wonderful there.

          • APL
            Posted February 18, 2015 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

            JR: “It’s more (authoritarianism ed), ”

            Why are we pussyfooting around about the perfectly legitimate calling a spade a spade?

            This is largely the problem with the Tory party, no backbone.

    • Edward2
      Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

      For the same reasons Russians come here to live, is the answer.

  42. forthurst
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    All tax avoidance is done with the connivance of government. Tax avoidance schemes exist as either bribes to middle class voters or to enable wealthy individuals …………… to hold their inheritance overseas in tax havens, well out of reach of HMRC or, in the case of foreign multinationals who pay no profits on tax in the UK, as a price the LibLabCon party considers worth paying for the privilege of being able to buy German cars or French wines or to subsidise ClubMed basket cases caught in the Euro death spiral.

    Is it appropriate that very wealthy people should be able to reside and benefit from the best this country can offer, which is still, despite the sustained efforts of our politicians, superior to what they would experience in most of the world, whilst holding their wealth elsewhere, so that their contribution to keeping this country a pleasant place to live is minimal?

  43. Jon
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    I read the BBC and according to them Ed Balls wants to crack down on tax avoidance, so the £10,000 tax threshold, pension tax relief and the bit on ISA’s. Not the tax evaders like the celebrities and BBC workers who used tax evasion,

    An error in the word used? Maybe not, I have seen too many remarks and comments from Labour MP’s and policy advisers that the secure way to get re elected is to maintain the poor population and not give them opportunity to improve their lot as they won’t vote Labour.

    On the Smoking front 75% are average to low earners and Labour have said they will target them for further tax rises. How they treat their own.

    • Jerry
      Posted February 12, 2015 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      @Jon: “the tax evaders like the ##### and ##### workers who used tax evasion”

      If you have proof of people evading, not just avoiding, tax do you not think you should be telling the HMRC rather than warning those people by bleating on about it via the internet.

      So do you have any proof or was that just a baseless, valueless, rant?

  44. Iain Gill
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Well the tax rules, international and national, are amazingly complex, so much so that the Tax people often don’t know what they mean themselves, so much depends on interpretation, and even those who want to be meticulous in paying their dues can make mistakes.
    In general the rules are far too complex, far more than they need to be, mainly because politicians cannot help themselves constantly meddling, often changing things in obscure ways to hide their real intent, and the complexity adds lots of unnecessary wasted time and overhead to the whole of society which would be better spent on more productive stuff
    What would be good would be concerted simplification of the rules.
    The system is setup to make it easy to earn money in one country and pay tax in lower tax rate jurisdictions, and jurisdictions where filing accounts is not required or enforced.
    Then we have those organisations pushing the rules to the limits, and often beyond. The thing is those organisations pushing the limits and beyond with one sets of rules are often pushing the limits on other rules.
    In the same way that Al Capone was locked up for tax evasion and not murder etc., even minor tax stuff when being carried out by some of the most obviously anti British companies should be enforced to the max.
    The thing is I have been inside big companies that I know are not just tax avoiding on a very aggressive scale, but also breaking the tax laws, breaking the immigration laws, breaking data protection laws, breaking employment laws, and yet these are companies where the leadership are treated like royalty by the government and opposition. And I know this has been going on for years. Indeed some of the rule breaking is so obvious anyone with half a brain can see it going on. Problems of course being that there is no political appetite to actually police and enforce the rules, and no coordination between the different state regulators, police, immigration, information commissioner, tax, and so on.
    It is offensive to see folk on benefits treated so harshly for minor rule breaking while we have company execs committing multi-dimensional rule breaking being wined and dined by the government. And this is me a right winger speaking, not some looney lefty.
    So in lots of ways John I think you are missing lots of points.

  45. Stephen O
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    If a business is not paying tax through legal tax avoidance measures, but there is a consensus in parliament they are using loopholes inappropriately or paying far to little tax, surely the right answer is to change the tax rules?

    Where there are large multinationals earning billions of pounds in revenue in the UK from sales to consumers which can’t be moved elsewhere, I do not see why this should be impossible to do.

  46. ChrisS
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    In my view, there is no such thing as tax avoidance.

    Companies and individuals are perfectly entitled to take every legal measure to pay the minimum amount of tax. As a shareholder in a company I would take a very dim view of any board of directors that allowed the company to pay more tax than the minimum it could legally pay.

    As others have said, it’s up to governments alone to decide on who, where and how much to tax.

    It’s no good Miliband bleating about multinationals and individuals taking all legal measures to limit their tax bill. Labour had every opportunity to place restrictions on companies and individuals during their 13 years in power.

    My only surprise is that the new measure that Osbourne is bringing in to prevent (large companies ed) and co from exporting profits to Luxembourg is only predicted to raise £150m in a full year.

    Given the size of sales (of some of these groups ed) in 2014 this seems woefully unambitious.

    • APL
      Posted February 17, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Chriss: “Companies and individuals are perfectly entitled to take every legal measure to pay the minimum amount of tax.”

      Exactly.

      Chriss: “As others have said, it’s up to governments alone to decide on who, where and how much to tax. ”

      A ‘loophole’, which for example Amazon locating its European headquarters in Luxembourg, is a legal construction set between the British government and it’s European partners.

      Our politicians created the ‘loophole’, when they criticise companies for exploiting it, they are being dishonest and deceitful.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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