Sir Simon’s remarkably ill informed today

Meanwhile western governments, and more important their taxpayers, must forego staggering sums in revenue. Some $20tn is estimated lost by individual tax dodgers round the world alone, almost a third of it (according to Oxfam) to just 10 British-jurisdiction tax havens. The corporate losses are thought incalculable.

Err, no. Some sort of vague relationship with numbers is useful here.

Global tax revenue is of the order of $23 trillion. Global GDP is perhaps $70 trillion. We really do not think that 30% of global GDP should be paid in tax and isn’t being.

The $20 trillion is a huge guesstimate of the total amount that is in havens, not the income from that capital amount, nor the tax that should be but is not being paid on that total amount.

And it includes anything that companies are doing too.

International custom and practice stipulates that tax should be made in the country in which “value is added”. That has come to be identified, ludicrously, with a company’s headquarters.

Nope, that’s not true either. Never has been, not since League of Nations days either.

13 thoughts on “Sir Simon’s remarkably ill informed today”

  1. Twenty TRILLION? Didn’t any of the hipster clowns at that rag stop and think for one moment about that sum? Do they all think big numbers are all the same once they have run out of fingers to count on?

    Twenty trillion. Lol.

  2. Saw this guy in the Evening Standard (a ‘beacon of neo-liberalism’ according to RM) and wondered why he wasn’t in the Guardian – doesn’t actually come out and say we need a global tax rate but comes remarkably close.

    ‘No invention of modern capitalism so enrages the public as does the tax haven. When giant corporations and very rich people choose not to pay their taxes, and government turns a blind eye, faith in the state crumbles.’

    He does, however, need to get with the program a little (and this could be an opportunity for Lawrence of Beria to contribute his unique insight) – the TJN defines the following countries as Tax havens (or ‘secrecy jurisdictions’)- Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, France, Germany and Canada. I could be wrong but can anyone furnish me with an example of a tax avoidance scheme which has used those jurisdictions – ever.

    I am guessing in his eyes therefore the very idea of a nation state, which could be classified as a ‘tax haven’ according to the TJN ‘enrages’ people and cause them to ‘lose their faith’ in the omniscient state.

    In which case they can, I think to most people who aren’t power-mad and eager to exert control over their fellow man, be only a very good thing and to be encouraged…

  3. So the taxpayers are losing out because taxpayers aren’t paying their taxes?

    What you don’t pay in tax simply vanishes from the universe, is that the thesis?

  4. Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, New Zealand, France, Germany and Canada. I could be wrong but can anyone furnish me with an example of a tax avoidance scheme which has used those jurisdictions – ever.

    VW choose to locate their headquarters in Germany rather than the UK. If they were based in the UK then they would pay tax, but they choose to base themselves in Germany instead, therefore depriving the UK of tax. This is tax dodging by definition, and it anyone who disagrees is a neoliberal troll.

  5. TIm Newman

    Absolutely – ‘L’etat Courageux et le joi de l’impot , ils sont partout’ – as Murphy’s Bourbon equivalent might have said….

  6. Taxpayers are only ever losing out when governments willingly fritter away the cash on vanity projects and undeserving causes, not to mention the loss through corruption and incompetence.

    To try and explain this by announcing that it is all the fault of “not enough tax” is a distraction, not enough tax for what? Duck Houses? Stuffed Snakes? Plasma TVs in your second home? Legal fees for terrorists?

  7. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Simon Jenkins has the Murphy-esque talent of being wrong on everything he writes, in every particular. He really is a most spectacular arse and should be roundly mocked.

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