Quite, quite, remarkable

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?

14 thoughts on “Quite, quite, remarkable”

  1. He argues that the Letter of the Law has been supplanted by a general principle of Equitable Construction. And on support of this: various explicit measures introduced into tax statute. In other words the explicit letter of the law.

    He is a fucking idiot.

    And I know already there is a particular case which some other idiot will cite at some point.

  2. “Of course tax must be collected in accordance with the law
    I did not say anything else”


    “All I am saying is that the law is a flexible beast”

    Cunt. Anyone watching what’s going on in Hong Kong under the Basic Law being “interpreted” by the commies in the mainland would see Ritchie is no different.

  3. “I was interviewed by a journalist yesterday who wanted to know why I was not worried about the erosion in the distinction between tax avoidance…”

    No he wasn’t. He woke up this morning and wanted to spout on about the topic.

    He’s like a child.

    “A very important person wanted to hear what I had to say this morning and agreed with everything I said and said how clever I was and lucky he was to be listening to me”

  4. ‘Anyone watching what’s going on in Hong Kong under the Basic Law being “interpreted” by the commies in the mainland would see Ritchie is no different.’

    I was watching ‘The Killing Fields’ the other day and for some reason Murphy came to mind.

  5. All your money are belong to us.

    I need to sell some assets. I’m am putting it off til after the first of the year, for tax purposes. Avoidance. The legislators could not have known I was going to put it off. Ipso facto, tax evasion.

  6. F*CK me but the level of debate is sinking so fast over on Murphy’s site that you’ll need ground X-rays to locate it soon.

    To paraphrase:

    Some Moron:

    Tax avoidance isn’t legal, it’s just not illegal – there’s a difference

    There’s no law against walking down the road at midnight shouting but if you did you’d be arrested – not for walking down the road shouting but for breach of the peace.


    Good analogy.

  7. “There’s no law against walking down the road at midnight shouting but if you did you’d be arrested – not for walking down the road shouting but for breach of the peace.”

    Lol. Spend the night in any UK Town Centre to realise you are talking shit.

  8. Could any reasonable legislator have foreseen people organising their activities to receive their income in the form of tax-free grants from political pressure groups, thus avoiding income tax on that income?

  9. One of the pre-requisites of Fascism (or any totalitarianism) is that the Law has to be arbitrary in who is punished and who isn’t, thus becoming a political weapon to be used at the whim of the police and prosecutor. When you can arrest and punish people arbitrarily with a ‘flexible legal system’ you are well on that road to Fascism.

  10. The difference between evasion and avoidance is the thickness of a prison wall – according to Murphy, it is inconsistent with modern tax law so everyone with an ISA or contributing to a pension scheme should be in jail.

  11. The sheer fuckidiocy of commentators on Murphy’s site can’t be imagined, it has to be read, so apologies but I’ve copied one below which has attracted “good analogy” from Murphy and “10 out of 10” from another of the fuckwits who frequent his site

    “Geearkay says:

    I take issue with the mantra that Tax Avoidance is Legal. It isn’t. It’s just not illegal… there’s a significant difference.

    To highlight what I mean, there isn’t a rule which makes it illegal to walk down a street at midnight, screaming like a banshee, but if you were to do that and someone complained to the police, you would be arrested… not for wandering down the street screaming like a banshee – there isn’t a law against that – but for Breach of the Peace.

    Same with Tax Avoidance. There is no law against a company arranging its affairs in a way which makes the most effective use of tax laws around the globe, however UK tax statutes regularly deny relief for losses arising from transactions whose only or main purpose is to gain a tax advantage. There’s no law against the activity, but there’s a statutory prohibition to the outcome.

    It’s absurd to say that Tax Avoidance is legal therefore it’s OK. I suppose the simplest way to illustrate it is this – if Tax Avoidance was legal and OK, HMRC wouldn’t win any cases. HMRC are currently successful in around 80% of the avoidance cases taken to tribunal. QED, I think.”

    It’s almost like a deliberate lampoon. Maybe it is.

    There IS a law against shouting in streets and it’s called ‘breaching the peace’ Else you couldn’t be arrested for shouting in the street. This nobhead’s argument is so facile. There’s no specific law against shoving a railway spike up Mr Richard Murphy’s arse. There doesn’t need to be because it’s covered by other laws.

    Same with the tax laws. You cannot legislate against specifics so you provide frameworks and then judges and court decisions decide what does and does not fall within the framework.

    You could NOT plea not-guilty to shouting in the street on the basis that there was no such offence but you COULD plead not-guilty on the grounds that this action did not amount to a breach of the peace. It would be for a court to decide if it did.

    As for his last ‘proof’ that tax avoidance must be illegal because HMRC win 80% of its cases.


  12. Bloke in Costa Rica

    “[…]the old divide between avoidance and evasion is disappearing. Legally and ethically it is now recognised to have no use.”

    This is the point at which an article in Wikipedia will have a [by whom?] or [citation needed] tag.

  13. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Oh, and the shouting in the street example is shite, too, in England and Wales anyway. All offences are “against the Peace” (of the Crown), which used to be (is?) a part of the mantra that a copper had to say when he nicked you for something like murder. “Breaching the peace” is not an offence. Public disorder such as making a nuisance of yourself is a breach of the peace but is not an offence in itself. Unless and until you have been enjoined from doing whatever it is you are doing by a competent authority nothing actionable has occurred. But at that point you render yourself liable to arrest for a further breach of the peace. If you wind your neck in you’ll be free to go. There can be an element of preemption if the copper thinks you’re about to commit a breach of the peace, but he’d better be able to explain to the custody sergeant what he thought he was playing at.

    So Murphy’s microcephalic toadies can’t even come up with a useful parallel. What a shower.

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