Hope springs ever eternal

Let’s put this in context. Apparently, one in ten UK taxpayers has an offshore account.

I have always argued the scale of offshore abuse is significant. But this exceeds any estimate that I might have made.

The data has been advised by foreign governments. I suspect it is true.

Let me be clear: some will be accounts that are not in tax havens e.g. those held by those letting properties in France, for example. But all might involve evasion. And that is just as important as those that are tax haven based.

Well, yes, but we should all recall what happened over those Swiss accounts. Spudda and the like told us all that there were billions, billions I tell ‘ee, to be got from scouring the vaults of the Gnomes for tax evading accounts.

So much so that Osborne pencilled in those billions that he’d get from the agreement he made that the vaults be scoured.

As it turned out near all of the accounts were either of British citizens who weren’t resident for tax purposes, or were and were declared. Total receipts were not, you’ll be amazed to hear, those billions.

Then those Panama Papers. David Cameron had offshore! Which was all declared and tax paid. And the Liechtenstein Facility had one and only one named user. Lady Margaret, Dame Hodge, Spuddy’s fellow campaigner on tax evasion.

There just ain’t the money out there evading tax Ritchie says there is. On the very simple basis that as, by and large we don’t find ourselves oppressed by British law then we generally, being unoppressed, obey British law.

All of which would change if we changed British law to be oppressive of course.

17 comments on “Hope springs ever eternal

  1. My daughter and her husband are in the RAF and have lived in Cyprus for 6yrs, 2 postings.
    each time they have to have local bank accounts which are probably still open but unused and empty.

    spud is moron.

  2. How about taxing all the overseas coins that most have after an overseas trip? I am sure this also amounts to Billions. Any spurious argument seems to be OK.

  3. I’m surprised its only 10%. Just in the circle of people I know there’s a family who used to live and work in Saudi, a chap who moved to Bulgaria (but still has a UK house he rents out), several people who own property in France, a chap who lived and worked in Japan for a few years, a chap who married a Chinese lady and moved to Taiwan but is now back in the UK, a chap who married a lady from Hong Kong and then moved to Spain, a chap who married a Polish lady and moved out there, a lady who lives and is employed in the Uk but spends the winter months living in the Canary islands (if you work from home it doesn’t matter where the home is!), and my uncle who has moved to and from the Republic of Ireland several times. Most of whom I suspect will still be registered with the UK tax authorities and own a foreign back account. And none of whom to my knowledge are international jet set tax evaders.

  4. Mitch has just reminded me that I’ve still got dormant accounts in Cyprus (2), Germany and Zimbabwe, assuming that after all these years without use the banks haven’t closed them.

  5. And its just occurred to me, we have had a massive influx of EU migrants, most of whom will have had a bank account in their home country, and probably still do, especially if they are just here to earn money to send home, but will now be a UK registered tax payer as well.

  6. Has he heard of diminishing returns? By imposing tighter rules you need more people to find the unpaid taxes and the amounts become smaller and smaller. This when the revenue doesn’t have resource to check everyone anyway and must chase only the most blatant. It’s like refining gold out of sea water. It can be done but it doesn’t do you any good.

  7. The more people like Murphy gain prominence, the more people will have offshore bank accounts – its harder for them to steal the money there.

    Anyway, we are probably about five minutes away from a definition of “tax evasion” which includes every pound in an offshore bank account.

  8. What Jim says. Many of those foreign workers have accounts in their home countries. No doubt Murphy will tell us that Poland is a hotbed of tax evasion.

  9. Jim has it, I think. Dickhead mentions taxpayers; OGH shifts to citizens.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40117521

    Gives HMRC figure of 30.3m payers of UK income tax.

    https://www.migrationwatchuk.org/statistics-population-country-birth

    “The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that in 2017, just under 9.4 million people living in the UK were born abroad, (14.3% of the total population of the UK). Of these, 3.7 million were from countries now in the European Union and just under 5.7 million were from non-EU countries.”

    3.7m EU immigrants is 10% of UK income tax payers.

    But, oh woes!

    There are 9.4m immigrants in total! 31% of income tax payers!

    Bloody immigrants, coming over here and evading our taxes.

    Waycist!

  10. How many of those accounts in the EU? Is that offshore?

    Since it is a ‘single market’ and all one happy European family, someone living in Yorkshire and having an account in France is no more offshore than if they had one in Wales.

    The purpose of an offshore account for tax evasion was it was beyond the knowledge and scrutiny of the tax authorities… but- ‘The data has been advised by foreign governments. I suspect it is true.’

    That rather removes the ‘rationale of having an offshore account for evasion.

  11. Mitch has just reminded me that I’ve still got dormant accounts in Cyprus (2), Germany and Zimbabwe, assuming that after all these years without use the banks haven’t closed them.

    I could check those out for you if you just send me the account details, passwords, addresses and account names, etc. 😉

  12. The Fat man asks of the millions of EU citizens living in the UK who might have overseas bank accounts…..

    “Richard Murphy says:

    And are they declaring that income in the UK?

    They certainly aren’t claiming to be non-dom”

    Once again showing his ignorance of tax law.

    If the income arsing from that bank account is less than £2k and isn’t remitted to the UK, it won’t be taxable in the UK and there’s no need to claim non-dom status.

    If it IS remitted to the UK, it’s taxable in the UK and there’s no point in declaring non-dom status.

    The man is a tax moron.

  13. I bet there’s several false assumptions, that each account is linked to a unique individual, rather than many individuals having more than one account….

    But yeah, how many of them are immigrants keeping accounts in their home countries?

    And the UK is a very good place to leave money, since there’s no wealth tax (so the UK is a “wealth tax haven” as I once got Spudda to admit, though he’s probably forgotten), and interest rates are rock bottom at the moment so there’s bog all interest being taxed anyway.

  14. I’m sure I probably still have my Hang Seng account with a couple of HK$ in it. Not worth the stamp to write to them to close it.

  15. “There just ain’t the money out there evading tax Ritchie says there is. On the very simple basis that as, by and large we don’t find ourselves oppressed by British law then we generally, being unoppressed, obey British law.”

    And those that feel they are, contra to Ritchie’s insistence otherwise, have left.

  16. Probably worth remembering that the Swiss authorities gave account holders a couple of years notice of the planned changes. So any active account holders had plenty of opportunity to shuffle their money elsewhere.
    Also, HMRC can only make 250 information requests each year. The Swiss are under no obligation to report any account holders to the U.K. authorities.
    For comparison you should look at the German deal with the Swiss. Far more successful in terms of repatriating tax.
    For what it’s worth I’m a foreign account holder too, in my case Japan.

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