7 November 2017

Dodgers

It comes as no surprise but The Paradise Papers reveal that they are all at it. It appears that where ever there is wealth, there will also be unscrupulous tax dodging. 

At the top of the tree, there are huge companies like Apple and Amazon, exploiting all the tax loopholes they can find to avoid paying their dues. They move their millions across international borders to stay one step ahead of  legitimate pursuit.

At the other end of the wealth spectrum, you find minor comedy actors from television like Patrick Houlihan and Martin and Fiona Delany. They have had their fees paid into companies based in Mauritius which they later access in the form of tax-free loans.

In my way of thinking it is all quite disgusting. Of course, it has been going on for decades. Many of England's great eighteenth century country houses were funded by shameless tax dodgers who, just like Lewis Hamilton and  Bono, did their damnedest to avoid paying up.

Countries contain societies and to function effectively these societies  need numerous  things which require public funding. We need roads and schools, hospitals and social workers, police and fire officers,  refuse collection and environmental expertise, soldiers and coastguards. The list is very long and to have these necessities, taxation is vital. We must all pay up in the understanding that this is partly what being a member of a society is all about. If you avoid, evade or dodge your tax responsibilities you are effectively passing your part of the bill to fellow citizens.

It's like attending a group meal in a restaurant and then slipping away when the bill appears at the table. 

Ordinary salaried workers, low paid workers and  people who work in the public sector have  little potential for dodging tax. They pay their dues. Yet if they flee restaurants without paying their bills they will be pursued and brought to book for their dishonest evasion.

As you can deduce, I have no sympathy whatsoever for tax dodgers, They will often protest that their avoidance happens within the bounds of existing tax legislation but they know that what they are doing is selfish and immoral. As this morning's "Daily Mirror" headline suggests, they are indeed "parasites" and the sooner international laws catch up with them the better.

51 comments:

  1. It is all very unfair, and only because it has been going on "forever" doesn't make it any better. I do not envy a rich person their material wealth, but like you, I expect them to make their contribution to society like everybody else. The silly bit is that they wouldn't even feel the "missing" money if they paid their taxes - if you are so rich, it does not really make a difference anymore whether you have a few million more or less.

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    1. Precisely. In contrast, if a low paid worker could dodge his/her tax responsibilities the extra cash would make a significant difference to his/her life.

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  2. and if a low paid worker was offered the opportunity to dodge taxes they would, in most cases, grab the chance, I know I would. It's all right taking the moral high ground when you know you have no choice but be offered the chance to legally halve your tax burden can you really convince me that you would say, "no, I want to pay the full wack". Have you never, in your whole life, bought an item "off the back of a lorry", or paid a contractor cash in hand. If you can honestly say no to all them, you must be due a sainthood.

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    1. I am no saint but I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have never cheated the taxman or ever felt tempted to do so. It is disappointing that instead of commenting on the tax dodging villains you choose to turn the issue back in my direction.

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  3. I can see your point. Without taxes no wages for Mr Pudding. I hope after all this that you don't have ISAs.

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    1. As an Oxfam shop volunteer, I do not receive any wages. It seems very sad that you choose to switch this issue round to question my affairs rather than tax dodging villains who have cheated Great Britain of billions of pounds.

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    2. Tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is illegal. Tax dodging is just lefty emoting.
      What has Oxfam got to do with this other than virtue signalling.

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    3. You wrote, "Without taxes no wages for Mr Pudding" so you invited my point that I work for Oxfam without remuneration. Nothing to do with "virtue signalling" as you call it.

      Clever tax avoidance may be "legal" but that doesn't make it right or indeed acceptable. Selling cancer inducing tobacco is also legal but it doesn't make it right. Walking down the street with a gun in your belt may be legal in some American states but the legality doesn't make it right or good.

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  4. My second boy just landed his first full time job and he commented that he will at last pay taxes.
    It's a privilege to live in a society like ours and to pay the taxes required to run it.

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    1. It IS a privilege to be able to contribute to society. We should all pay our fair share, and be proud of that. Some things in life are infinitely more important than a little extra money in one's bank account.

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    2. Good luck to your "second boy" Kylie. Has he got a name or do you just call him Second Boy? He has a healthy attitude towards social responsibility.

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    3. Keaghan is his name

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    4. I wish Keaghan all the best on his winding work journey.

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  5. For all the conservatives that scream about patriotism over here, most would do anything to avoid paying their full share of taxes. That seems like a very unpatriotic thing to do!

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    1. It is wrong to rob banks, wrong to burgle other people's houses, wrong to forge banknotes and it is wrong to dodge one's tax responsibilities.

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  6. Sorry if you was expecting a load of back-slapping, !well said" comments, sometimes it doesn't work that way. Just been listening to a queue of holier than thou, whiter than white, perfect people, on Radio 5 Live, who never do any wrong and love paying tax. Let's look at the bloody royal family and the Head of State, the Queen, who is kept safe by the military and other organisations, kept in the style that she is used to in a large way by the public taxpayers, what does she do, she stashes 10 million quid away in a tax haven instead of paying the full amount of tax. Then there's the Labour Party's daily rag, the Daily Mirror, slagging off all tax dodgers while ignoring the fact that the Labour Party pays rent of a million pound for it's London HQ to a trust in Jersey and Mr. McDonnell invests his council pension in a Guernsey trust.

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    1. So are you saying that you approve of tax dodging? Are you implying that it is "just one of those things" and we should get over it? I am not looking for back slapping comments but I am very surprised that you appear to be okay about tax avoidance. In my view it is always wrong and reprehensible - just like robbing banks or forging banknotes or committing insurance fraud. It's not about being "holier than thou", it's about what is right and what is wrong.

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  7. Yes, I suppose I do, because it's not a crime, it simply panders to the basic nature of people - offer them something cheap and most will take it. That's why supermarkets are so successful, despite the fact that they are fleecing producers in the process, do you pay £2 at the till for a £1 bottle of milk because you feel morally bound to do so. And finally, my very last word on this, if it's OK for the Queen to tax dodge, then so would I if I could.

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    1. The credo throughout my adult life has been "Honesty is the best policy". For me it is not a question of getting away with things if you can. If it is wrong then I won't do it and I know for sure that this attitude of mind is shared by many thousands of my fellow citizens.

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  8. Derek Faulkner. Don't judge Mr pudding by the standards of the thieves that employ tax dodging.
    And as for the queen and the Labour party, it just sounds like sour grapes to me.
    You are obviously shocked at the notion that anyone could see paying taxes as a moral duty.

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  9. Perhaps YP should aim his blog at the Queen then and ask her about her moral duty.

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    1. With The Queen, it appears that a proportion of her vast wealth has been transferred overseas to avoid tax by agents of The Duchy of Lancaster. If instead she is in any way personally culpable then I have absolutely no problem in knocking her as much as Lewis Hamilton or Apple. No problem at all.

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  10. From this side of the pond, dear YP, I shout BRAVO!!!

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    1. And I shoot back "HELLLOOOO MARY!" (Did you hear that?)

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  11. You're right on! If everybody paid their fair share, tax rates for all would be lower. Yes we have to go after all the dodgers.

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    1. Phew! That's a relief! A law-abiding fellow who shares my view of tax avoidance and tax evasion instead of twisting things round to point a finger at me!

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    2. I know . We're nice.

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  12. Just because tax shelters are legal doesn't mean they are fair. And some who put their wealth in tax shelters are not even fulfilling the requirements need to do so "legally." We have a brewing scandal here in Canada to that effect. I think anyone with a basic moral compass knows what is right and fair versus wrong and unfair.

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    1. Well said Jenny. Just that. Well said.

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  13. Everyone will have an angle

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  14. Taxes are necessary....there is little point in whingeing about having to pay taxes...taxes are necessary...as necessary as breathing!

    Nothing is for nothing....

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    1. Personally, I have never moaned about taxation. As you say, it's necessary.

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  15. I do think they should be a bit cleverer about closing some of the stinking great loopholes in the system , but the people they are pillorying really arent doing anything wrong , morally its dreadful , but some of these people make huge unadvertised donations to charity which is also a tax break . We just need a more coniving tax system for the rich

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    1. People have always dodged taxes but nowadays with the international element thrown in and computer transfers it makes the tightening of loopholes more challenging.

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  16. Greece is a whole country of tax dodgers, whole country is now a bankrupt disaster with few services. Lesson to be learnt there. And still the game is dodging tax for Greeks, not just rich!.

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    1. Funny how Greece filled the news five years ago but nowadays we hardly ever hear about its troubles.

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  17. Interesting, but not surprising, news about Prince Charles last night, which increases my dislike of the senior royals.

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    1. Where ever there is significant wealth there is tax dodging. Those of us closer to the bottom of the wealth pyramid tend to pay up.

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  18. Two Labour-controlled councils in the North West have reportedly used offshore companies to avoid paying more than £12 million in stamp duty despite Jeremy Corbyn's vociferous opposition to tax avoidance.
    The Times reported that in May, Sefton Council in Merseyside saved £1.6 million in stamp duty by buying the New Strand shopping centre in Bootle for £32.5 million via a company registered in Luxembourg.
    It also bought insurance against the possibility that HM Revenue and Customs might chase it for payment, it was reported.
    And in July, Warrington Council agreed to pay more than 3200 million for Birchwood Park, a business centre in Cheshire, via an offshore company, saving almost £10.5 million in stamp duty,

    As usual it's do as we say and not as we do.

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    1. Labour funding can be very problematic as they don't enjoy the patronage of rich landowners or the aristocracy. However, if these accusations are built on solid evidence then it's disgraceful and those responsible should be chucked out of The Labour Party.

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  19. Nice comments Adrian, some people just can't see when they're being taken for fools.

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    1. Who? Who are these people who are being taken for fools?

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  20. Being an American, where Formula One is just another of those weird European things, like men's purses and bidets, I cannot understand how or why Lewis Hamilton is rich and famous. He drives a car really fast. Big fricking deal.

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    1. With a name like Vivian Swift, you should be an F1 driver!

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  21. It IS disgusting, though I must admit my own reaction has basically been an eye-roll. "Oh, THIS again." It's up to lawmakers to tighten the rules so that this sort of thing can't happen. I agree that anyone with an ounce of personal morality wouldn't take advantage of these loopholes, regardless of whether they're allowed or not -- but I guess it's difficult to ignore them when your accountants and financial advisers and managers are all telling you to exploit them. (Besides, "everyone else" is doing it, right?) The laws have got to change.

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    1. They say that prostitution is the world's oldest profession. It will always be with us and perhaps tax dodging is the same. No matter how the rules are changed or tightened, the rich will always find another way to cheat.

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  22. Here in Italy tax dodging is totally acceptable from the richest to the poorest. in fact if you pay for something then ask for a receipt you are often told the goods will cost more. We know people who have never paid tax in their working lives yet complain about poor quality healthcare, the roads full of potholes, streets not swept, And yes we do fill in an annual tax return and pay our dues while we are in Italy, we want to contribute, but it's a drop in the ocean of illegal black economy. Things could be worse in the UK where avoidance is immoral, here illegal dodging is part of the culture.

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    1. A sea-change is required in the attitude of Italians towards taxation. Freeloaders are despicable but somebody must be paying taxes in Italy. Or do they rely on EU handouts?

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