The stupid is strong with Our Owen

Perhaps we should take Schmidt’s “aspiration” to do the right thing at face value. But if Mr Schmidt is anything like me, he might need a bit of outside assistance to achieve his aspirations. So, how about we legislate to crack down on all forms of tax avoidance: like passing the General Anti-Tax Avoidance Bill, drawn up by Richard Murphy and introduced by Labour MP Michael Meacher.

As we\’ve pointed out many a time, that bill would loosen, not tighten, the definition of avoidance that can be cracked down upon.

For it states that anything that is specifically mentioned in legislation is outside the scope of tax avoidance. Thus Amazon relying upon the warehouse exclusion in the double taxation treaty with Luxembourg is absolutely not, under the definitions of this bill, tax avoidance. Google selling from Ireland is absolutely not tax avoidance: mentioned in EU law.

Plus of course Our Owen is blindingly ignorant about tax incidence.

8 thoughts on “The stupid is strong with Our Owen”

  1. When he starts wearing long pants and dressing himself he might start to know something.

    He says: Google aren’t the only company gifted with an infinite supply of smugness courtesy of a slick team of accountants and lawyers.

    What they are gifted with is the EU single market which encourages them to set up the way they have.

  2. To be fair to Owen I thought his article contain far fewer obvious errors than Nick Cohen’s piece in The Observer.

    Owen, rightly, states that the central issue is one of changing the law. Although he doesn’t state is as such he is effectively saying forget about the grandstanding and moralising and just “change the law” if you want to raise more CT from these companies.

    Nick Cohen’s article though had all the usual cliches of Vodafone not paying taxes and private equity paying lower tax rates than one’s cleaner. The fact that Vodafone had won its legal case and Osborne largely got rid of the egregious low private equity taxes seemed to have passed him by.

  3. It is not as simple as just changing the law, Shinsei1967. Firstly, one cannot unilaterally change a treaty and I suspect that the Luxembourgers may not be unhappy with the double taxation treaty which was signed under Harold Wilson. Secondly, one cannot change the law such that it undermines the single market. Leaving the EU will solve the latter problem but not the former.

  4. Yeah, but you’re ignoring leftwing ‘logic’ Act I, scene 1.

    “They’re breaking the law!”
    No, they’re not.
    “Well change the law then!”
    That won’t help
    “well, it should help!”
    It won’t.
    “That’s not fair!”
    Life’s not fair.
    “Well it should be!”

    repeat ad fucking nauseam.

  5. If a general anti-avoidance rule comes in you won’t really have the law any more, because you won’t be able beforehand to say what the result will be. You’ll just have judges with principles to apply with scope to see things either way, as takes their fancy. Not the traditional UK way.

  6. @ Terry

    Actually, one could argue that this is exactly the UK way. We have traditionally been far less prescriptive than many of our peers. More of our law comes from the courts than from parliament.

    What we have always had, however, is a great respect for both equity and, where applicable, those statutes that have been passed. The GAAR that Murphy wants, if apples how he would apply it, would undermine such values considerably.

    In realty, RM could find himself disappointed by the courts treatment of matters. I’d be inclined to put more faith in judges ability to strike the right balance than politicians. They are, after all, trained to see through bullshit.. not champion it.

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