Which is why the old divide between avoidance and evasion is disappearing. Legally and ethically it is now recognised to have no use. It is inconsistent with modern tax law. It contravenes the morality of society that underpins our concept of equity. As such it has no place in modern tax debate and it’s immoral to use it.
It’s immoral to ask whether you’re obeying tax law or not now. For that is what the Spudmonster is saying here.
Recall what his definition of tax avoidance is. The use of a provision of the law in a manner that no reasonable legislator would, or could, have foreseen. That has it’s own problem of course, given the idiots we have as legislators. But leave that aside.
This law says that if I do this then I don’t owe that tax, right?
Aha! But the legislators did not foresee you doing that ! MOAR TAX!
Err, but can we just stop and think a bit about whether legislators did foresee that, or could have done, or were warned, or should have done?
No, immoral, MOAR TAX!
The truth is of course that there is no such thing as a static state of tax avoidance. There are, quite obviously, attempts to avoid tax. And then we examine these attempts. We even have a system of tribunals on up through the courts all the way to the ECJ which examine such attempts. And in the end all such attempts at tax avoidance collapse down into either illegal, that is tax evasion, or legal, as in tax compliance.
So, for example, it would be entirely fair to argue that Cadbury and Vodafone were attempts at tax avoidance. Specific attempts to keep European profits out of the CFC rules governing UK corporation tax. And this was all examined, in great detail. And the end result was that it was tax compliance. We know this because the courts said s. That the Sage of Ely disagrees is a problem with and for the Sage of Ely, not the rest of us.
This is all quite apart from the basic logical challenge being presented here. Which is if we’ve got things which are legal and things which are not, and two different words to describe them (like, say, legal and illegal) then we’ve got to have some method of distinguishing between the two, don’t we?