There are also two main courses for the British government to follow at home. It is unbelievable that RBS, in which taxpayers own a 70% stake (and rising), is still not bound by a formal regulation to cease tax avoidance. One must be put in place immediately – otherwise the government are subsidising a bank, while allowing it to bilk the exchequer. And for exactly that reason, Treasury officials should insist that other banks do the same before they can enjoy the protection of the government\’s asset-insurance scheme. Barclays bank has begun negotiating with the Treasury on details of which bad assets it wants to insure – but a general principle must be put in place that all who want to enjoy taxpayer support must commit to paying their full share of the tax burden.
Tax avoidance schemes do not mean not paying their full share of the tax burden. Tax evasion does, but tax avoidance is simply taking advantage of the provisions that Parliament specifically puts into the law for companies and individuals to use.
So how can there be a formal regulation that a company can or should stop doing what Parliament has specifically said it may and even should do?