The Scotsman gleefully reports that
Edinburgh is one of the top spots for UK tax avoiders, a new investigation has revealed.
That is all very well and dandy, until you read the article and discover that the writer was referring to a report which said:
"The capital is home to 145 people who have admitted underpaying tax from offshore investments last year...In other words, unless the underpayment was due to a genuine mistake, these underpayments were tax evasion NOT tax avoidance.
Colin Wright, chairman of UHY Hacker Young group, said: “HMRC’s crackdown on taxpayers offshore is prompting more individuals in Edinburgh to come in from the cold and make a voluntary disclosure.
“The growing resources at HMRC’s disposal means there is nowhere to hide for taxpayers with undeclared offshore interests. It, therefore, makes a lot of financial sense to make a disclosure as this can reduce penalties from up to 200 per cent of unpaid tax to less than 100 per cent.”
He added: “HMRC does not discriminate and will come down hard on all taxpayers with undeclared offshore interests – even if an error on a tax return arises from a genuine mistake. It is therefore important that taxpayers keep their affairs up to date.”
Therefore will the media and politicians please get it into their heads that avoidance and evasion are two entirely different things; one being legal, the other being illegal!
Tax does have to be taxing.
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