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Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Tax Avoidance vs Tax Evasion
Lloyds finds itself the centre of some unwelcome media and HMRC attention this week, following a Panorama report that showed the bank was helping people avoid paying tax.
The fact that tax avoidance is perfectly legal seems to have passed the media by, yet again.
However, of greater concern is Hartnett's reaction to the fact that Lloyds "brainstorms" to "get round taxes".
"Brainstorming in the context you've just used suggests to me some complex arrangement for tax avoidance. Or, worse still, potentially facilitating tax evasion … We simply cannot tolerate that sort of behaviour."
Tax evasion is illegal, and Hartnett is quite correct to state that HMRC should not tolerate it. However, to lump avoidance in with evasion is misleading, and Hartnett knows that.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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