Can Ritchie read?

Provided that a relevant person agrees either to make a one-off payment in accordance with Article 9 of this Agreement or to make a voluntary disclosure in relation to his/her relevant assets in accordance with Article 10 of this Agreement and fully cooperates with HMRC, that person is highly unlikely to be subject to a criminal investigation by HMRC for a tax-related offence for past liabilities in respect of relevant assets from the date he or she irrevocably opted for one of the options, unless either his/her relevant assets represent the proceeds of crime (other than crime connected to a tax-related offence) or represent the proceeds of crime connected to criminal tax-related offences punishable by two years or more imprisonment.

Right, that’s from HMRC. Cough up your tax evasion and we’ll not prosecute. Except, of course, if it’s all based on criminal enterprise or offences in the first place.

So, at the same time as it was being decided it was worthwhile pursuing very large numbers of people for benefits related issues, including non-payment, through the UK court system it was decided that it was not a good use of that system to pursue wealthy people and their professional advisers for proven, deliberate, large scale criminal acts of theft.

And that’s Ritchie. But theft is a criminal act for which you would be prosecuted. Therefore they’re not not prosecuting people for the criminal act of theft. They’ve actually laid out that they would prosecute for that.

Now Ritchie may want to say that not paying your taxes is an act of theft. But the law doesn’t agree. Which is why HMRC is making the distinction, see?

6 thoughts on “Can Ritchie read?”

  1. Oh, come on, of course he can read. What he wants to read. Often by giving words different meanings, or ignoring whole sections.

    Requiring otherwise is just neoliberal sophistry.

  2. It’s perhaps also an indictment of our criminal justice system. HMRC would rather issue a penalty (sometimes quite severe), than chase them through the legal system. According to their statement on Radio 4 earlier, they prefer to get the cash now than wait maybe five or ten years to get the cash then.

    From an accounting perspective that’s excellent: we get money up front. But from a justice perspective a criminal has received a slap on the wrist. It’s hardly going to discourage others, is it?

    HMRC’s accountants have themselves calculated our legal system is too slow to be worth using, particularly for non-trivial cases. That’s your problem right there.

  3. Andrew M said: “HMRC’s accountants have themselves calculated our legal system is too slow to be worth using, particularly for non-trivial cases. That’s your problem right there.”

    Perhaps also calculated that due to the complex nature of tax and banking legislation they don’t want to lose and set a few precedents.

  4. Dear Mr Worstall

    Paying taxes is robbery, that is theft with violence or the threat of violence. That’s the real problem we face: the biggest organised crime syndicate is government, who then launder the funds into nice clean government salaries to pay folk to enforce their (cough) laws.

    For some strange reason some people seem to think this is an absolutely spiffing idea.

    Can’t think why.


  5. Let’s also remember that the standard of proof for tax/penalties and for criminal conviction are quite different.

  6. Apparently the IRS do a similar thing – offering administrative “fines” as part of a plea-bargain deal, and if the defendant pushes it to court and it looks like they’ll lose they drop it because they don’t want to set judicial precedent.

    Plus, the defendant has no mechanism to recoup costs so has already been punished financially by the process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *