Ritchie and his GAAR

This is an interesting headline, isn\’t it?

The argument that tax avoidance is legal is now dead and gone, for good. The world of tax abuse changed today, for the better.

So, what has actually changed?

Let us just run through a few cases where Ritchie has been alledging tax avoidance.

1) Lady Green\’s dividends from Taveta, ultimately sourced from Arcadia. Transfers between husband and wife (not that this happened anyway) are tax free. She is non-resident and non-domiciled. Thus the UK tax system has no claim at all over her income. The GAAR will not change this point.

2) Vodafone. EU law is now settled on this point. CFC rules do not apply to subsidiaries in the EU. UK law cannot claim otherwise. So no change here.

3) Boots: interest payments are still business expenses so no change here.

4) Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google. No, warehouses are still not permanent establishments. Yes, you can still sell from any one EU country into any other or all of them. Paying corporation tax where your one company is, not where the sales are.

So, the GAAR will not stop any of the cases that Ritchie has been whining about. Yet the GAAR makes tax avoidance illegal now.

Which leaves us in something of a quandary really. If the GAAR makes tax avoidance illegal (or, as above, not legal) but all orf these things are still legal then all of these things must not be tax avoidance then.

But we\’ve been told endlessly that all of these things are tax avoidance.

So, where is it that Ritchie is lying to us? In the original definitions of tax avoidance or in the claim that tax avoidance is now illegal?

20 thoughts on “Ritchie and his GAAR”

  1. Surreptitious Evil

    So, where is it that Ritchie is lying to us?

    Pendantically, he could actually not be lying. He could be sufficiently deluded that he believes (or BELIEVES) in the literal truth of all his pronouncements, however contradictory (c.f. country by country reporting versus unitary taxation). This would make him a dangerous fool, certainly. But not necessary a liar.

  2. As SE says, you cannot expect a Leninist bookkeeper to comprehend the full implications of his rants. For such, the injustice that the State does not have full control over the distribution of wealth is reason enough.

  3. Moonbather, they’re better off not sueing. (cf. Streisand Effect) No point drawing attention to an attention seeking nutter. Only when they are seriously losing money will they go after him – and then big style. As it’s they might lose a bit from the 0.0099% who actually boycott on principles, but it hardly makes any difference to their balance sheets.

  4. One of the things (only one of them) that makes Ritchie so pointless is the you find yourself takn from the subject matter and towards the fascist twat himself. Thus I write:
    Ritchie introduces a piece by saying tax avoidance is no longer legal as from today. In evidence he gives us HMRC guidance, GUIDANCE! Now In Ritchieland his guidance would be Law, at least if you knew what was good for you. However, here in England today, at least for the time being, it isn’t.
    I don’t find him funny; he is dangerous.

  5. Ironman> He’s not dangerous. Playing the lying-liar-full-of-lies card only works for a relatively short time – Galloway is an example. Eventually the Islingtonistas run up against a dissonance that even they can’t ignore.

    Mind you, he is an utterly repulsive piece of shit. I can’t wait for him to meet the fan.

  6. Surreptitious Evil


    I’m afraid I can’t agree on your first point. Ritchie sets the basis of ‘tax discussion’ for the core funding block for the Labour Party and much of the same basis for the Guardianistas and other malevolent ignoramuses.

    Therefore he is likely to set the bounds of desired policy for what, unfortunately, is likely to be the next governing party. If he wasn’t a raving whacko and merely a typical economically ignorant lefty, then this wouldn’t be dangerous. Unfortunately, he isn’t. He’s deluded, widely believed and in a wholly unwarranted position of influence.

    He’s dangerous.

  7. SE>

    You could have said precisely the same about Galloway in the not so distant past. These sorts are useful idiots to some, perhaps, but they’re not taken seriously by anyone who matters, any more than Polly and her Tuscan mates have any real influence. The only reason we tolerate the existence of the Guardian is that being a Graun reader or columnist is a sure sign that someone is in fact completely powerless and can be safely ignored.

  8. Surreptitious Evil

    You could have said precisely the same about Galloway in the not so distant past

    I don’t think so. Galloway has always been on the radical fringe of the Labour movement. He’s never had the sort of influence (even during “Stop the War”) that the LHTD has. Part of Ritchie’s power comes from his influence over the funding pump at the TUC, the rest comes from his populism via TJN. The window of acceptable decisions regarding corporate tax and free movement of capital that any future Labour Treasury Ministers would take has been shifted significantly statist-wards by Ritchie’s involvement.

    Hell, even the coalition were forced to give him a seat at the decision making table (probably through the PCS connection.)

  9. I think Dave is correct, here. I used to think RM was a dangerous nutter, but the more I read of him I think he’s just a nutter.

    If (when) Labour get into power they won’t let him anywhere near anything important, and if they do the first set of civil servants he meets are going to say to him, ‘Sorry, you’re talking rubbish… everything you want is prohibited by law.’

    Cue Rumpelstiltsmurph.

    I agree the debate has shifted a bit, but not a great deal – and that shift is more about the media (ie BBC) presentation of everything bad that has happened since 2008 as being the fault of the bankers and Americans.

  10. SE>

    I don’t think the PM in this country has that much influence on his own treasury minister, let alone an irrelevant vocal scumbag. The ‘decision making table’ you perceive, I see as the kind of do-nothing committee one shunts the hypocrites, liars, and idiots onto to keep them out of the way. More than three people can’t agree when to have lunch, as the saying goes. The largest impact our cretinous hunch-moralled accountant might have is that one or other party notices the (limited) effectiveness of his populist nonsense, and decides to adopt some of it as window-dressing.

  11. Dave
    I wish I could feel as comfortable as you. However, Murphy is not only a fascist in his writing. Look at the way he conducts his blog: disagree and you’re gone! The story of his fury when a young female member of TJN got herself on Newsnight instead of him was very revealing. He made it clear that HE was the tax expert, HE was the leading economis and SHE was just a well-meaning kid. Oh and our left wing radical went to the Daily Mail to get the message across. So, next time Ritchie wants to be extra panelist on Question Time, you show me the BBC current affairs producer eith an interest in self preservation who says No. Civil Servants will give him short shrift will they? Well the HMRC people didn’t.
    No I’m sorry, I’m scared of him and scared of everything he represents.

  12. Of course the bastard’s not a fascist – he’s a lying scumbag making money out of saying despicable things, that’s all. To be accurate, the things he says are more national-socialist with anti-semitic undertones than anything else, making him less a neo-Fascist than an old-fashioned Nazi, but it’s all by-the-by since he self-evidently doesn’t believe a word of it himself.

    I suspect that as base as his morals are, if he thought anyone significant would actually listen to him even Ritchie wouldn’t say these things – he’s happy enough to sell snake-oil to those idiot extremists who’ll buy it, but he wouldn’t sell it if it wasn’t snake-oil. Basically, it’s the David Irving business model. It’s pretty reprehensible conduct in its own right, but it’s a different kettle of fish to actually believing that nonsense themselves.

    Galloway has got himself on QT from time to time – but again, who the hell listens to QT panelists? And you seem to be under the impression that HMRC have listened to Ritchie, simply because he claims that, but as our host points out, that’s not actually the case – it’s just Ritchie’s claim.

  13. Ironman, where’s the evidence that HMRC have ever listened to him?

    The stuff with the researcher is just funny, and that’s the way to deal with him – laugh at him.

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