I see that certain dog whistle politicians and the shouty tabloids are whipping themselves up into a frenzy over tax avoidance. Seemingly if only avoidance could be eradicated all our problems (revenue shortfalls, at least) could be eliminated.
Dr John Pugh (according to the Southport Visiter* - see extract below) certainly seems to think that tax avoidance is the scourge of our time.
*For reason best known to themselves they spell their organ "Visiter".
Aside from the fact that people have the well established legal right to organise their tax affairs in such a way (legally of course) so as to minimise their tax liabilities, Dr Pugh makes a rather sweeping generalisation about "clamping down properly on tax".
What exactly does that mean?
Are not our own "respected" MPs no slouches when it comes to avoiding tax, and to minimising their liabilities (eg via CGT relief on second homes etc)?
Was it not the profligacy of the last government that caused the national debt to balloon, rather than the tax avoidance practices by individuals, companies and MPs?
He and the "Visiter" then confuses tax avoidance with tax evasion.
Sadly it is people like this who have devised, and will continue to devise, our complex and absurdly burdensome tax system.
If only a dog whistle could be created that would lead them to live abroad and out of our lives!
"SOUTHPORT MP John Pugh wants a crackdown on tax cheats.
In a Parliamentary debate he called for an anti-avoidance law to tackle an issue that is costing the Government billions of pounds.
He said: “There are potentially massive sums that could be obtained through clamping down properly on tax.
“In 2008-09, for instance when the Government did crackdown, 12 billion of extra revenue was made.
“This just shows how much avoidance is going on.
“At a time when we face dealing with a large deficit, consideration about how this money is recouped is essential.”
Estimates on how much money is lost by the Treasury in evasion, avoidance and outstanding debts – the tax gap – is put at £40bn a year.
Dr Pugh said many governments tended to take an “after the horse has bolted approach” to dealing with tax avoidance.
He added: “Having a law would ensure that things are far easier to regulate.
“The argument usually used against implementing such a law is that it would lead to capital flight.
“However, Japan and Australia have already implemented such a law and it has not lead to this.
“It would also mean that less time would be spent by the Treasury devising complicated defences against it.”"
Tax does have to be taxing.
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