Sunday, 30 January 2011

Let Britain be a tax haven too then!

The Swale and Kent Marshes from Harty Ferry
It won't come as a secret to you, dear reader, that I am not especially keen on paying taxes. Not that I'm alone in all this - people out there seem a great deal keener on getting others to pay more tax than they are on handing their own cash over to our wonderful government. For sure, while Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs will cheerfully take any available cash from whatever source, the advocates of higher corporate taxes are noticeably handing over extra so as to help out the poor (who aren't out on those picket lines).

Today however a new front was opened up in the Great Battle to Get Other People to Pay More Tax - Switzerland! Here's a taster:

The key point here is that tax avoidance by big multinationals is just a part – albeit a very important part – of a bigger and even nastier picture: tax havens and the global offshore system. This is massive. Tax havens and offshore finance have been metastatising (sic) through the global economy since the 1970s: the unseen component of financial globalisation. They lie at the heart of the global economy. Half of all world trade passes through tax havens.

This is not about a few celebrity tax-dodgers, spivs and mafiosi: as UK Uncut has recognised, this is also about multinational corporations – and, most importantly, about banks. Recently the Mail on Sunday found that Barclays, Lloyds and RBS have over 550 tax haven subsidiaries between them.

What I understand from this differs from the conclusions of the author - who sees the avoiding of tax as a great evil. I see the situation as a call to action for our government - demonstrating the need to make taxes simpler and to reduce them. For Britain to "suck in" all that international capital finance and put it to work building a great country founded on the idea of free exchange and willing participation in the task of governing. A place where someones success is reason for celebration not condemnation, where envy is no longer the driver of political action and where taxes do not punish or penalise.

I want Britain to be a tax haven!


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