On the public shaming of tax evaders

A hairdresser, a coach operator and a knitwear manufacturer were on a list of nine “deliberate tax defaulters” published by HM Revenue and Customs.

Ministers and tax specialists said the move showed there was “increasingly no place to hide from the taxman”.

OK.

But there were no large corporations on the list and the total amount owed came to less than £1 million.

Excellent. And here it comes, eh?

The move comes after evidence of minimal UK corporation tax payments by multinationals such as Starbucks and Amazon has catapulted tax to the top of the political agenda.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the Commons public accounts committee, said the publication of the list was an “amazing” step forward by the taxman.

“Publicly naming and shaming does act as a deterrent, as we demonstrated over the Starbucks and Amazon hearing,” she said.

“But I hope they’re not just focusing on individuals and small businesses. Whilst they should pay all tax due, I think the general public does not want to see big global corporations getting away with it.”

Margaret, Lady Hodge, is either ignorant here or lying for political advantage. For absolutely no one at all is claiming, no not even Ritchie, that those corporations are evading tax in a manner that breaks the law of the land. The two things are not the same. Flouting the law of the land is one thing, obeying it another.

You cow.

6 comments on “On the public shaming of tax evaders

  1. Deliberate misinformation (or muddying the waters) has been the name of the game all the way through this process.

    Murphy continually tries to redefine the goal posts – when it comes to the terminology used in this area – in line with his “statist” left wing viewpoint, frequently and deliberately elevating his opinions over the facts.

    Whatever one thinks of Hodge’s views, I am not convinced that she is stupid, any more so than Murphy. IMO, they are simply politicians with agendas, and more than happy to allow people to be both misinformed and misled in pursuit of those agendas.

  2. In the same article, Matthew Sinclair (Taxpayers Alliance) gets it spot on:

    “It’s right that those who try to cheat the tax system should face the consequences but this measure is little more than a publicity stunt which serves as a distraction from the real issue of getting to grips with the system itself.”

    I know this is off topic, but I saw on another Murphy blog that he actually disapproves of higher personal allowances. He prefers allowances to be low so that more people actually pay tax (and then of course get that money back in “state benefits”). All to do with “participation” etc…

    This of course was Brown’s strategy and is the real battle here. The more people that receive benefits the more they become dependant on the state, and hence in effect owned by the party which helps to perpetuate that dependency.

  3. “Naming and shaming” is always a despicable policy and also very popular with the neo-puritans (their paradigm of moral government, and all that). If somebody has actually committed a crime, they are “named and shamed” by the court system. No other form is either necessary or acceptable.

    And it’s worth adding that it would take half the “named and shamed”‘s taxes just to pay Lin Homer’s salary- a woman who, as is typical of her class, was rewarded for previous failure with promotion.

  4. Seeing as even the G20 has worked out that they are losing revenue to creative (if strictly legal) accounting by multinationals this might be a battle Tim is on the losing side of.

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