Err, Ritchie, other countries have different laws you know

The Swiss banks made available an opportunity for organised crime to take place, and did so very deliberately. Tax evasion is crime: it is theft just like any other theft. Tax evasion in a Swiss bank account also never occurs by chance: it is a pre-meditated act.

Tax evasion ain\’t a crime in Switzerland.

And yes, there is good reason that we don\’t insist that a sovereign nation gets to have laws imposed on it. For example, in 1934, Germany did not get to say that all Jews in England must wear a yellow star.

In fact, that\’s what being a sovereign nation means. That the place gets to make its own laws. When Capitalism was outlawed in 1930s Soviet Union it was not outlawed in Britain. You see how this works?

19 thoughts on “Err, Ritchie, other countries have different laws you know”

  1. Don’t you mean that tax evasion by non-Swiss residents isn’t a crime in Switzerland? I bet you that the Swiss tax authorities are as nasty as anybody else’s (and somewhat more competent than most) if you are liable for federal, cantonal or communal tax.

  2. How can tax evasion not be a crime in Switzerland? The very definition of tax evasion is that it’s the illegal stuff, as opposed to tax avoidance, which is legal. I can get that, say, tax dodge A is legal in Switzerland but not in the UK, but I don’t get how one can say that tax evasion flat-out isn’t a crime.

    About the only way this makes sense is if no one in Switzerland is ever legally obligated to pay taxes, and all the government is funded voluntarily. Which seems rather implausible.

  3. Tax Evasion is theft? So, not handing over money to the State on pain of violence is theft?
    Oh, and the National Socialist State prohibited citizens from having foreign bank accounts on pain of death. Courageous? Possibly.

  4. Sovereign states – what are they? Democracy in the UK means doing what Murphy tells us to do despite 71% voting against Labour. Democracy in the rest of the world means doing what Murphy tells them despite no-one voting for him.

  5. When Capitalism was outlawed in 1930s Soviet Union it was not outlawed in Britain.

    Yes, but in fairness Ritchie has been working night and day to reverse that anomaly.

  6. I am sure that Iran’s version of Richie is bemoaning the fact that women in other countries are wearing short skirts, and this should be stopped

  7. Actually, British parliamentary sovereignty was once famously defined by the ability to legislateto ban smoking on the streets of Paris. Enforcement is of course a different matter.

  8. Tracy W (#2), the vast majority of tax enforcement, even in this country, takes place without criminal law and would be exactly the same if tax evasion wasn’t a crime.

    What we have is interest on late paid tax and tax penalties and surcharges for late paid or undeclared tax. None of these are part of the criminal law; they are civil penalties within the tax law.

    That deals with 99.99% (probably more 9s than that) of tax issues.

    The only extra thing making tax evasion a crime does is allow a handful of people to be imprisoned for it.

  9. It’s not quite correct to say that tax evasion is not illegal in Switzerland.

    The differentiation is that it is a civil rather than a legal matter, so they might obtain a court order to seize your assets to pay the evaded tax liability, but they wouldn’t have the right to throw you in jail for this offense.

    If however, you ignored or evaded the seizure order then you would be guilty of contempt of court and that does get your ass thrown in jail usually indefinitely until you fulfil your obligation to the court.

    In short Swiss tax evasion is treated similarly to decriminalized parking in the UK, the actual offence itself will be treated as a civil matter, but if you ignore the court for long enough you will get arrested and thrown in jail until you comply.

  10. For those of you who have questioned how tax evasion is not a crime in Switzerland, allow me to explain.

    Switzerland does not simply have an avoidance/evasion distinction. Those two are in fact mis demeanors. What is criminally illegal is tax fraud. The law distinguishes between failure to disclose information, and deliberately falsifying information.

    If I can use an example. If I earnt 100k salary, 30k income from a rental, and 15k from selling a painting, my total income would be 145k a year. However, when I come to do my tax return I write down that I earnt 100k salary and 30k rental income and fail to mention the picture sale, that is tax evasion. I have not deliberately mislead, I have simply failed to tell the whole situation.

    If however I falsify my receipts from rental income to say I only earnt 10k instead of 30k, and I forge the sale document on the painting to pay the money to my wife, then this is tax fraud.

    It is an odd distinction, but one that has a long history in Switzerland because of the strong privacy rights. It means that you don’t have to just tell the authorities all about yourself, and it is their duty to ensure that they follow up and ask specifics. Perhaps surprisingly, the system works well having lived there.

    John Galt above is correct in one sense but it perhaps needs a little tweak. I think he meant to say that it is a civil, not criminal matter. It is of course all a ‘legal’ matter.

    An extract from Wikipedia actually explains it quite well:

    “The statutes distinguish, however, between tax evasion and tax fraud. Tax evasion is the act of causing a tax to be falsely assessed, such as through the failure to report taxable income. It is classed as a misdemeanour (Übertretung / contravention) and is punishable by a fine of 33% to 300% of the amount of tax evaded. Tax fraud, on the other hand, occurs if a tax evasion is committed by using false documents (such as untrue corporate financial reports) for deceptive purposes. It is classed as a crime (Vergehen / crime) and is punishable by additional imprisonment of up to three years or an additional fine of up to 30,000 CHF.”

  11. The source article could be straight of a publication in early 20th Century Russia. Absolutely extraordinary that this man as even the slightest kernel of influence on the UK. Those denying he is a communist(you there, Arnald or PaulB?), read this and tell me that you see no similarity. It’s basically a declaration of war on the concept of national sovereignty.

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    In fact, that’s what being a sovereign nation means. That the place gets to make its own laws. When Capitalism was outlawed in 1930s Soviet Union it was not outlawed in Britain. You see how this works?

    Although it is not working out that way in practice these days as increasingly European states have taken it upon themselves to pass laws for the benefit of other people.

    A good example of this is child sex offenses which in a whole range of Western countries can now be prosecuted at home. But there are others. The vile Frederick Tobin was detained in London to be extradited to Germany for what he had said on a blog in Australia.

    Not to mention this blog has defended a British coroner inquiring into deaths in Iraq as well as British subject being charged for crimes that supposedly took place in Iraq. And now perhaps Afghanistan.

  13. Not to mention this blog has defended a British coroner inquiring into deaths in Iraq as well as British subject being charged for crimes that supposedly took place in Iraq. And now perhaps Afghanistan.

    The deaths of a nation’s servicemen or women, and crimes allegedly committed by them, are assumed by most countries to be a matter for their military courts. The UK system has always used the civil coroners and has passed many serious civil offences (murder, rape) to the civil court system. The latter has only become more prevalent with the ECHR derived reforms to the military trials system.

  14. VP: you talking to me? No, I don’t think Murphy’s a communist. But I don’t make it my business to defend him.

    I agree with the main point of Murphy’s article in the Guardian, which is that Kostas Vaxevanis should not have been arrested for publishing a list of Greeks alleged to have Swiss bank accounts.

    Amusingly, the Telegraph links to Murphy’s piece as having been written by Vaxevanis. I think they meant to link to this article instead.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “The deaths of a nation’s servicemen or women, and crimes allegedly committed by them, are assumed by most countries to be a matter for their military courts.”

    How many French service men were tried for murder after Waterloo? How many coronial inquiries were held after John Moore retreated in Spain?

    “The UK system has always used the civil coroners and has passed many serious civil offences (murder, rape) to the civil court system. The latter has only become more prevalent with the ECHR derived reforms to the military trials system.”

    That is to say, we now have an Imperial “Civil” justice system that is interfering in crimes they have no place inquiring. Into crimes committed overseas for instance. As I said.

  16. Paul B

    If that were all the article were saying I’d agree, I think it harsh that Vaxevanis was arrested just for that (Though, not reading Greek I don’t know the fine details of the actual case).

    However, he then launches into an absurd tirade against people parking their money in Switzerland, which due to its relative efficiency and orderliness (a consequence of its distinct aversion to Socialism, I’d hazard) has lower tax rates, and proceeds with the absurd rant that the issue is one of ‘lack of revenue’ in Greece, almost totally ignoring the outright corruption, waste, graft and nepotism that is endemic within the Greek government. It is this almost total lack of historical context which makes him, arguably the most dangerous man in Britain, if not the world.

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