My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

Politics

Is it legal

102 replies

newwave · 16/02/2011 16:28

Myself and others have posted items which detail tax avoidance and other money grabbing schemes, I am aware that people from all political parties (and none) do this.

The thing is that it appears to be only the Tories on this site that think this is ok because it is legal and nothing else matters. Others from the left seem to understand that it may be legal but is is also immoral/greedy/unfair etc.

Francis Maude is a prime example, he used the rules to aquire public money but how can anyone defend him as the Tory posters have done, what he did was within the "rules" but it was just plain greedy.

Still "we are all in it together" says "offshore Gideon Gekko"

OP posts:
meditrina · 16/02/2011 16:36

Tax evasion is wrong.

Tax avoidance is however legal, and therefore action cannot be taken.

What is needed is a massive simplification of taxation. I didn't think any party had major proposals in this area; in the last 15 years or so, all we've had are sticking plaster measures. Disappointing.

newwave · 16/02/2011 16:46

meditrina

Although I agree with all you say my point was that is that although something is legal is is often "wrong". The Tories on here seem to think that is all that matters and because something is legal it is beyond condemnation.

OP posts:
meditrina · 16/02/2011 16:49

It is up to a Government who thinks is it wrong/greedy/immoral to legislate upon it. Actions speak louder than words.

newwave · 16/02/2011 16:54

It is up to a Government who thinks is it wrong/greedy/immoral to legislate upon it. Actions speak louder than words.

That presumes the Tories are against the rich tax avoiding and would legislate to stop it. What you need to realise is that the Tory party consists of the most immoral and greedy people, all parties have them but the Tories excel. Do turkeys vote for Christmas?.

OP posts:
meditrina · 16/02/2011 16:57

Probably not, but neither did the previous administration with a massive majority.

I think the last tax simplifying Government was that of Mrs Thatcher - but that's not the kind of example you wanted, was it?

Niceguy2 · 16/02/2011 17:03

I assume you are referring to me and what I posted in paul88's thread.

The issue is that what is right or wrong will differ depending on who you speak to and the law is there to define what is acceptable and what is not.

Frankly you will assume anyone who is rich, successful and not paying every penny of their income to the poor and needy as immoral and therefore wrong so its a bit pointless discussing it further.

newwave · 16/02/2011 17:31

NG2

I assume you are referring to me and what I posted in paul88's thread.

Not at all although if the cap fits you may as well wear it

The issue is that what is right or wrong will differ depending on who you speak to and the law is there to define what is acceptable and what is not.

Wrong, it is there to define what is legal not what is acceptable

Frankly you will assume anyone who is rich, successful and not paying every penny of their income to the poor and needy as immoral and therefore wrong so its a bit pointless discussing it further.

That last comment is stupid as you well know and TBH I gave you credit for better. That said I see no reason for those on very high salaries/bonuses to pay far more in tax, say 70% after the first million or two.

After all we are now part of THE BIG SOCIETY and are ALL IN IT TOGETHER

OP posts:
meditrina · 16/02/2011 17:37

I hope someone tells Kitty Ussher who was avoiding tax whilst a Treasury Minister under the previous administration.

I think all main-stream parties are as bad as each other on this one. The UK tax code is ridiculously over-complex; but no-one seems interested in simplification and making it fit for purpose in a global economy.

newwave · 16/02/2011 17:49

I think all main-stream parties are as bad as each other on this one.

Yes they are but the Tories are the the par excellence of tax avoidance, the very very best. This is probably because they have had the most practise at it.

OP posts:
meditrina · 16/02/2011 18:05

It's a red herring to try to assess who is "best" at minimising their tax bill via legal means. It's the tax system that is wrong.

As pointed out above, the last Government which acted on simplification was Mrs Thatcher's. So unless/until another body can put forward an alternative programme, you must be seeking a return of Thatcherite tax policy.

siasl · 16/02/2011 22:35

Newwave

Have you not read the 2010 Finance Bill?

Labour has 13 years to do something about the two most common forms of tax deferral/avoidance: EBTs and EFRBs. They did absolutely nothing about either of them. In fact they positively encouraged them. HMRC was told it was fine for companies to operate these schemes. Yes, Labour brought in a 50% tax but it was irrelevant since you could pay zero to 15% tax with a good EBT.

Also lets not talk about how Labour allowed people with offshore accounts in Liechestein to use the HMRC's Disclosure Facility to pay only 10% tax. Nevermind the illegal tax evasion and implications for money laundering!

The Tories come in and what appears in their first 2010 Finance Bill, a section on "disguised remuneration". Really wide ranging legislation that makes both EBTs and EFRBs pretty much useless for tax avoidance going forward. It also hits various other forms of trust and offshore pension product.

You may hate the tories for a number of reasons, but the 2010 Finance Bill is the biggest single move to reduce tax avoidance in the last 30+ years. Most tax counsel I know are amazed that the Tories have gone for the jugular in such an aggressive manner.

newwave · 16/02/2011 23:27

siasi, I will bow to your superior knowledge (no sarcasm intended) but the point I was making (badly it seems) is that Tory supporters on here seem to be of the opinon that any tax avoidance or financial shenanigans is acceptable because it is legal and no other criteria matters at all.

OP posts:
SexyDomesticatedDab · 17/02/2011 10:12

Siasal - point well made why didn't the Labour do it and I'm sure there are many Labour supporters who also legally avoid tax too.

Chil1234 · 17/02/2011 11:23

"tax avoidance or financial shenanigans is acceptable because it is legal and no other criteria matters at all."

Tax is a bill to be paid like any other cost of living. If the bill is £100 and you pay £100 then you've met your obligation. If you can legally reduce a bill to £80 and pay £80 then all well and good. If anyone has too much cash and wants to make a morality statement, meet some social obligation or assuage any guilt they may or may not feel - then there are any number of other ways that someone can contribute - also legally. Philanthropy being the most obvious.

No-one, however rich or poor they happen to be, sends extra money to the HMRC that they haven't been asked for. No-one, however rich or poor they happen to be, gets a tax rebate in the post and replies 'no thanks, you keep it'. So isolating this to 'tory voters' (and it's getting a little repetitive) is simply inaccurate.

Mellowfruitfulness · 17/02/2011 14:30

Agree that's how people think, Chil1234. But just because people think this way doesn't make it right.

People believe all sorts of things. The law is there to show us a standard that we should aspire to. If the law says it's OK to avoid legally reduce tax (with the help of a skilled accountant, of course) then the law should be changed. All it is doing is encouraging us to be devious, to try to find ways round paying what we owe.

Either we owe £100 or we owe £80. So much time and trouble would be saved with a better, more transparent system. Sorry to the accountants who would lose their jobs, but there's plenty of employment available in Welfare Advice.

jackstarb · 17/02/2011 14:40

I think the Inland Revenue offers you the option to donate any rebates due to charity but not back to them.

I wonder what happens in 'proper' socialist countries line Sweden or Finland?

I seem to remember reading in one of the Stieg Larsson books, about a character praised for paying more tax than was required!

But I think the Swedes have more transparency about what they earn and how much tax they pay.

Chil1234 · 17/02/2011 14:54

The simpler & more transparent the system, the more unfair it is likely to be because it won't legislate for particular circumstances so well.... viz removing CB for any household with one HRT payer - much simpler, quite transparent, but arguably not fair at all. Whilst I support the idea that if there are gaping loopholes they should be closed, I think the net result could be a far more complex and less transparent system.

It is human nature to not want to pay over the odds for anything. We love our comparison sites and January sales. What I don't understand - and maybe someone could enlighten me - is why the tax I have to pay is fundamentally different from my gas bill or grocery shopping. Why is it 'devious' to want to pay the minimum required?

jackstarb · 17/02/2011 15:09

I've seen a very funny article recently looking at ways of encouraging rich people to pay more tax. I will try and dig it out later.

But I'd suggest the 'because it's fair and the right thing to do' argument is going nowhere.

It is a serious issue with the 'tax and spend' model of socialism.

How do you encourage the rich to give as much as they can, and the rest not to take more than they need?

From my (somewhat pro free market) perspective - it appears to go against human nature.

Mellowfruitfulness · 17/02/2011 19:27

Chil1234, I think it's devious because when you pay tax you pay it for everyone. It's the money you owe for benefitting from a free education, roads, libraries, a free health service, police, etc. It's like choosing to pay less than the amount they need to your own children, imo. Tax is what I pay to live in the UK. I don't want to pay less than I owe because then it feels like I don't deserve the benefits of living here.

I don't mean to be preachy - though I know I sound very saintly. I don't think it's evil not to pay the full amount of tax that you owe, just mean.

Getting a bargain in the sales is completely different.

jackstarb · 17/02/2011 19:52

Mellow - of course rich people do pay a lot of tax. The top 1% of income tax payers pay nearly 25% of the total income tax. The top 5% pay just under 50% of all income tax.

And many of the extremely rich weren't born here and probably don't use many of the public services you listed.

Tightening the law to close tax loopholes might help. But telling rich people it's their moral duty to pay more tax really isn't going to achieve anything.

jackstarb · 17/02/2011 20:01

Here's How To Tax The Rich Dilbert style Grin.

Mellowfruitfulness · 17/02/2011 20:32

You're right, Jack. Loved your link: tax the rich more but give them extra rights. Smile On the basis that no-one ever gives up anything voluntarily. There has to be something in it for them.

It didn't use to be like this, and it doesn't have to be like this. We just need to give our culture a small tweak and make it less selfish. At the moment, people feel like idiots if they give something for nothing. Or they feel that someone else has got one up on them.

Get in touch with your inner glow and be good. Or if you don't fancy saintliness, be very very bad and enjoy it. Just don't sneakily exploit tax loopholes that leave the rest of us worse off.

rabbitstew · 17/02/2011 21:15

I'm not quite sure how, through your own hard work, finding out where you can get the cheapest deal on your car insurance is the same thing as paying lawyers and accountants to find unintended loopholes in tax legislation for you. It might be slightly more similar to taking advantage of a website accidentally advertising a holiday for 1p instead of £1,000 but even then, that's one person trying to get a steal out of another person who is trying to make as big a profit as possible for their own personal gain, rather than one person trying to reduce the money going to shared projects intended for the common good. If you don't think the money is going to the common good, you should reflect that in your voting patterns, not in tax avoidance schemes, otherwise you are being somewhat undemocratic.

Chil1234 · 17/02/2011 21:19

Sorry but I shall continue using as many ways to pay a little less tax as I possibly can. I'm a PAYE bod, sadly, so most loopholes aren't open to me... but I'll keep hold of the tax-free ISAs, filing the returns, cashing the rebates and, should I ever win the lottery, I'll be checking out offshore accounts with the best of them. Pretty sure the thousands of various taxes I've paid down the years have more than offset the few quid the country has invested in me. :)

rabbitstew · 17/02/2011 21:35

ISAs are deliberately designed to encourage people to save more, so are considered by the Government to be for the common good - and are available to anyone who can save money and read adverts. So, no moral turpitude there, then Smile.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.