That’s OK but we already do, don’t we?

Britain wants to see wealthy tax dodgers treated even more harshly than benefit cheats in the wake of the HSBC Swiss banking scandal, according a new ICM survey for the Guardian.

After a week of Guardian and BBC revelations about hidden accounts and withdrawals of “bricks” of cash, in which the pressure has been on David Cameron and his former trade minister and former HSBC boss Lord Stephen Green, a majority of 52% of voters agreed that even less mercy should be shown to the rich avoiding their dues than to dishonest social security claimants.

A dishonest social security claimant pays back the benefits wrongly claimed, yes?

A tax evader pays the tax evaded plus a fine, yes?

A tax avoider has committed no crime and thus receives no punishment.

16 thoughts on “That’s OK but we already do, don’t we?”

  1. I had a dream last night: there was this journalist writing a piece on Tax. And I swear, he knew the difference between avoidance and evasion. I had another dream the night before that I was sagging Kristen Dunst; more chance of that becoming g reality.

  2. A bloody minefield.

    And when did paying tax become about a progressive justification for widening, narrowing – adjusting the socio-economic gap?
    Because politicians [of all shades, green-red-yellow-blue…. play charades] do not or will not rationalize their own stupid governmental policies. By hammering the little guy into the ground and the small businessman with it – through Elizabethan MO collection methods of the HMRC. Tax collectors/thugs – also jumping on the individual tradesmen, luvvies who pay their taxes individually at rates set far too high. NEVER does Westminster – never do they talk about setting equable rates [lower taxes] and then awe struck observe – how the socio-economic gap narrows!

    Plus, then taking that money [taxes] and throwing it down the black hole of WELFARE – does fuck all good for the socio-economic gap.

    Pontificating and blaming rich guys who pay more proportionately but who also salt away more proportionately is a crap argument.

    Tax, the rationale, the logical idea of taxation and of reasonable government has been lost in the noise of illiberal indignation and sanctimonious bollox of cant.

    Another thing, people just seem to have lost the plot – ranting on about multinationals – what Google, Amazon and Apple do is perfectly legal – Claude Juncker helped draw up the avoidance schemes and still backs them up. Thus – why is the EU never mentioned in Westminster – when any mention of tax havens rises up out of the swamp like confection of disinformation and propaganda?

    Any firm which runs high street franchises, pays loads in council ‘local’ taxes and employment taxes – raising Camden high streets’ Starbucks tax contributions only adds to the dole queue in Ilford, Spain and Portugal – now we can’t have that can we?

    Hedge funds pay taxes………………. just not in Britain if they can help it and why not – “thems the rools”.

    Law, streets and street cleaning, refuse disposal, keeping the peace, street lighting, equable business and trading environment, educated [loose phrasing] citizens – all of which needs to be paid for – that’s the non negotiable quid pro quo for business and thus some sort of tax must be paid. Try doing business in Eritrea, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria or Sierra Leone.

    It just has to be “fair” – thus making and setting tax fare at fair rates – that’s the problem, paying tax is a moral duty but being all over moralizing about it – tax is just cant. In a multinational world, being part of the Empire of doom – we cannot set a UK unilateral tax regime – period.

    Miliband understands this, so does Balls, it’s time the British public understood it – as well.


  3. Why should there be any distinction between tax evasion and benefit cheating? They’re basically the same thing, aren’t they? In cashflow terms, the money goes from A to B to C. The tax evader is in group A and illegally decreases the amount they send to B; the benefit cheat is in group C and illegally increases the amount they take from B. The net effect is identical: less money in B, resulting in either less money to give to the non-cheats in group C or more money taken from the non-cheats in group A, or both. Why treat either more harshly than the other?

  4. Squander Two

    Flip side of coin:-

    Those who say – and they are here on this blog! – thay we shouldn’t pay tax because we know better than the government what to do with our money, they should be happy that people fraudulently claim benefits shouldn’t they. Because, well, the money is in the hands of the individual; not the government and that would make Milton Friedman happy.

  5. Ironman,

    There is a strong philosophical difference between, on one hand, campaigning for lower taxes or better benefits and, on the other, tax evasion and benefit fraud.

    That was an argument of such sophistry that I would have expected it to have come from SMFS.

  6. Maybe we should start with the very dodgy system enjoyed by MP’s.

    Expenses of x without a receipt? Seriously, these days? Further, none of their many benefits appear to classed as a benefit-in-kind.

    If MP’s were subject to the rules and incentives they make for the rest of us, we would all be better off.

    It will slowly be dawning on Labour that a sh1t-storm of tax related “scandals” will be coming their way prior to the election. Fun in a way, but no way to run a country, or an election campaign.

  7. Andrew M,

    “I’m afraid you’re wrong on this one. Benefit cheats go to prison, while tax evaders appear to be let off lightly.”

    No, tax evaders get fined. Benefit cheats would also get fined, but as they don’t have any money, the only disincentive for them is prison.

  8. SE

    By “not pay taxes” I meant tax evasion, cheat. I do get the reason we want lower taxes.
    And thank you do very much for the comparison. Any time you need a favour from me…

  9. > It will slowly be dawning on Labour that a sh1t-storm of tax related “scandals” will be coming their way prior to the election.

    Certainly Ed & Ed seem to have somehow forgotten that The Telegraph has a load of their expense claims on record.

  10. Was I the only one watching Ed Balls from behind the couch, knowing what was about to happen?

    And does anyone else get the impression the two Eds hate each other and would rather win their own little battle than win the election?

  11. Ironman,
    Yes and Yes.

    Our senior politicians appear so addicted to soundbites and “the narrative” these days that they’re unable to think things through properly, hence the lack of coherent policy. Neither can many of them see even the vaguest need to practice what the preach. It’s just politics right? Don’t be such a ponce.

    As to Ed v Ed, Balls’ time as as Brown’s chief henchman should tell us all we need to know about that. He’s basically unhinged isn’t he? The fact that Cameron and Osborne are friends is a huge advantage.

  12. Ironman,

    Those who say – and they are here on this blog! – thay we shouldn’t pay tax

    By “not pay taxes” I meant tax evasion, cheat.

    Who, on this blog, has advocated tax evasion?

    Tim, I know, is an advocate for both tax competition and taking advantage of such. Plenty of people are advocates for lower taxes (and a few for higher.)

    Hence my startlement at this coming from you rather than one of the more rabid commentators (none of whom I remember advocating evasion – although it may have been hiding somewhere in one of Mr Ecks spittle-flecked screeds about mass hangings and pensions confiscation. My eye tends to float over those.)

    Interestingly, there _is_ a nice parallel to be drawn between the general horror expressed regarding the mooted confiscation of Rolf Harris’s wealth and the favour that is occasionally seen regarding the confiscation of civil service pensions.

  13. > none of whom I remember advocating evasion – although it may have been hiding somewhere in one of Mr Ecks spittle-flecked screeds about mass hangings and pensions confiscation.

    I think it was, yes.

    > My eye tends to float over those.

    I stop reading the moment he mentions women.

  14. SE

    Reeling as I am under the blow of your defamatory comparison, I am recovered enough to say that, yes, your final paragraph contains a link between opinions that is simultaneously and quite beautifully facetious and pertinent, as was mine.

    And, yes, Squander Two has picked out one of the references to “all tax is theft and so we shouldn’t pay any. Government never did ANY THING for us”. There are others but you are right to drift off into the middle distance when they appear.

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