This is just so wondrous from Ritchie

So, now that Richard Teather has had a pop at Oxfam The Sage of Ely needs to go all ad hom on Teather. and in doing so he entirely undermines his own campaigning of the last decade:

Tax avoidance is using the law in a way that no government or tax authority anticipated to achieve a result that neither could ever have intended.

That’s rather stronger than his normal statement, isn’t it?

So, for example, we all agree that the UK does not tax profits righteously made in the Eire. No one ever claims that it should either, nor intended to.

Thus Google making profits not taxed in the UK cannot be tax avoidance, can it?

No, really, we’ve got those rules about permanent establishment and so on and they are being met. Obviously those rules are there because they have been considered: QED.

The use of trading subsidiaries by charities, with those subsidiaries then donating their profits to the owning charity tax free, has been an arrangement known about and unchallenged and clearly legally permitted for decades in the UK. That is not tax avoidance. It is a known, endorsed, encouraged and wholy acceptable arrangement.

That’s a little stronger too. Boots financing by debt: known, accepted and legally permitted. Not avoidance. Starbucks royalties: known about, legal, accepted: not avoidance. Etc, through all of the damn cases he’s been blaring about. In order to defend his mates he’s just undermined his entire campaign.

24 thoughts on “This is just so wondrous from Ritchie”

  1. “In order to defend his mates he’s just undermined his entire campaign”

    Not in his own head, Tim. Because “it’s different”.

  2. His case against those evil.avoiders, the very basis of cbc and Unitary Taxation, is that businesses cannot just be seen as their individual legal entities. Oh no; they are all one business and so we must look through those entities to the truth.

    Well then, each one of Oxfam’s entities is obeying the law to the letter (that’s “to the letter”). Taken together though it is clear, in fact Oxfam says so, that the structure is designed to avoid paying CT on trading profits.

    Only somebody who believes it moral to apply double, triple, multiple standards could be happy being himself this morning.

  3. A tax expert who donates goods to a charity and signs forms so that gift aid can be, illegally, claimed on it is not engaging in tax avoidamce; it is tax fraud. A tax expert knows this.

  4. “Tax avoidance is using the law in a way that no government or tax authority anticipated to achieve a result that neither could ever have intended.”

    This is one of those claims that is at such variance to what genuine liberals believe that it’s actually a bit hard to refute.

    Personally, I don’t care what the tax authorities, or even the government, thinks the unspoken element and intent of a law should be. I care what the law actually says and, where it isn’t clear, what the courts interpret it as saying.

    But Mr “Everything not Forbidden is Compulsory” thinks differently, like he thinks all money belongs to the state and they generously give us pocket money if we’re good.

    “Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired”

  5. Would love to see Murphy engage in a publicly broadcast Socratic dialogue about tax avoidance. Murphy being, obviously, the expert character, not Socrates.

  6. Here is the description of the critic, in Murphy’s interminable, multipoint prose:

    ‘Richard Teather has appeared on these pages before. Let’s be clear about it. He is a promoter of flat taxes, whose sole purpose is to increase inequality in a society. He is a promoter of tax competition – which is a war on the taxation of capital to increase inequality worldwide. And he is a promoter of tax havens’

    So, let’s Flip that around:

    ‘Richard Murphy has appeared on these pages before. Let’s be clear about it. He is a promoter of confiscatory taxes, under the false label of ‘progressive’. These taxes disincentivise work, drain funds from productive uses, enable inefficient state spending, and promote capital flight from countries foolish enough to implement them.He is an opponent of tax competition and by definition individual freedom, preferring to advocate universal tax rates worldwide, a powerful means of total state control practised in ‘Courageous State’ jurisdictions like North Korea and Venezuela, whose neglect of human rights are well documented by NGOs. He opposes what he names as ;secrecy jurisdictions’ (a category expanded by the TJN whom he was worked so diligently for to include states such as New Zealand and Norway), even those these act as a powerful brake on corrupt governments, enabling subjects in regimes whose democratic nature is questionable to prevent their wealth being looted for malign or oppressive purposes.’

    Anyone, barring the usual stool pigeon, care to oppose this definition of him?

  7. How do I print a pdf of his blog as it appears on screen? I want to preserve this forever:

    “it cannot be tax avoidance: you cannot avoid tax that a government says is not due”

    That’s superb; on Murphy’s own definition there is almost no tax avoidance, because most of what fails that test is evasion, not avoidance (other than disagreement between the government and the courts over interpretation, but where that’s significant it doesn’t last long).

    It was worth writing the IEA piece just for that.

  8. Richard Teather

    Given the things he has said about you and your motivations I would be very surprised if you didn’t want to keep a copy…and take it to your solicitor.

  9. @Richard Teather,

    Following Ironman’s comments, remember that the UK is a very, very plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction for libel and slander suits 😉

    Murph appears to have forgotten losing in the 2009 suit…

  10. I think Crowdfunding a ‘litigation fund’ to support legal action against this clown would be a great idea – Richard Teather – superb piece, which he is utterly unable to refute (albeit there are ten year olds on Twitter I have encountered with more economic knowledge than Murphy)

    I am reminded of the quote from ‘Paradise regained’ – the criticism from Murphy ‘of whom to be dispraised was no small praise’ should be taken as the highest compliment……

  11. Andrew Jackson

    Clearly when you provoked this classic Murphy response you managed to achieve the fine balance of getting right under his skin without being banned that most of us fail, so thoroughly well done for that:

    “Oh get real Andrew

    You really are, with the very greatest of respect, an embarrassment to the tax profession when you can make comments as idiotic as that

    If you want MPs sitting in tax offices say so

    Either way please stop being an embarrassment and accept that of course authority has to be delegated by parliament

    I am genuinely embarrassed by your comments

    Just go and read what I have posted this morning

    And then apologise

  12. Richard Teather: “Save as PDF” is an option under “Destination” in the Google Chrome “Print” dialog box.

  13. Murphy made much of HMRC’s apparent approval of these arrangements. It does need to be said that the officer on HMRV who wrote the guidance has certainly opened up a wide gate for the arrangement. It is worth noting, however, that he skips over the qualifications in that guidance that are designed, however half – heartedly l, to make sure the donors are fully aware of it to he point where they realise their goods are being sold for them and they will then be donating and gift aiding cash. The HMRC heading to the guidance, which refers to donating goods is therefore just plain wrong. And the officer in question is about as much use as Ritchie.

    Andrew Jackson’s point is that taking HMRC guidance and treating it as statute, which Ritchie does, is itself a corruption of Parliament’s will. Ritchie buses the term ‘capture’ quite a bit; physician, heal thyself.

    And the fundamental poi t about the will of Parliament most definitely stands: its express will is expressed. Its express will is that charities are chargeable on trading income. Had it been otherwise it would have expressly carved out trading income as exempt for charities. Structures designed to sidestep this parliamentary choice are by their very nature tax avoidance. I don’t really have a problem with that; only self-aggrandising moralists do.

  14. Yes, Andrew Jackson is doing a great job. Sadly I can’t join in over there; I was banned from Murphy’s site years ago.

    Agreed, there’s nothing wrong with tax avoidance. But it is very interesting watching Murphy trying to argue that there is a difference between what Oxfam does and what Amazon does.

  15. @Richard Teather

    Murphy starts his piece on Oxfam thus…..

    “The economically far-right London based Institute for Economic Affairs think-tank, that refuses to disclose its funding….”

    Obviously sinister…..

    Would you be at all surprised to find the following on Murphy’s own website?

    “I have also been offered a grant of £25,000 a year from a private trust that has asked that I do not publicise their name because of the number of requests for funding that otherwise follow and the burden that this imposes. In the circumstances that have been explained to me I have accepted this constraint”

    So Murphy is refusing to disclose the source of his funding. Of course, it’s different……because……er… justice!

  16. That would be the Kenneth Miller Trust. And the grant was clearly applied for, then offered, then accepted.

    It is odd as other people funded by that aforementioned Trust have no problem thanking them, but if TRUK names them it is thought it would lead to burdensome numbers and qualities of requests, but not if named by other beneficiaries.

  17. Anyone know whether Murphy has ever received a grant from / been retained by Oxfam? Seems odd that he’s so aggressively attempting (but failing miserably) to defend what would appear to be blatant tax avoidance.

  18. Oxfam has joined the battalions of the SJW army. It is possible that Ritchie is just defending his own troops.

    I personally have just been enjoying the discomfort felt by him. And of course by Jolyon Maugham after his pompous response to criticisms of his pompous “Welfare for the Wealthy”.

  19. Murphy’s piece is full of gifts. He criticises me for saying that democracy may not always give ideal results, but also complains that the IEA’s proposals “overly appeal to the current government”.

    That would be our democratically elected government, the one that won an election last year? If he’s all for democracy without qualification, surely policies that appeal to the elected government must be a good thing?

    It’s his ability to not only hold contradictory views but use them both in the same short article that is amazing.

  20. Lizard / rusty.
    He doesn’t have to have been given anything by oxfam yet. Oxfam are fecking rich,he’s probably fishing for a slice of the pie.

  21. If the shop is selling the goods as the donor’s agent, does that mean the donor is really the principal in the supply contract with the purchaser of the goods?

    Does this mean the donor (ordinary people just trying to help and probably trying to get rid of things they dont want) is liable to the customer for the goods if they are defective, if they cause personal injury etc.? Does the donor have to indemnify the shop as the agent for claims against the shop?

    Seems a pretty basic principle of agency law – unless the whole principal-agency relationship is entirely fake and just there for one purpose.

  22. What’s the VAT situation in all this, surely on the basis of some of murphys prior complaints at the very least by buying second hand someone is depriving gov’t of their tax take on a new sale and counts as tax avoidance

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