Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A moral duty?

So, according to much (though not all) of the media and a supposedly Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer we all have a moral duty to pay "our fair share" of the tax. Oh really? And who exactly decides what a fair share is? Whose fault is it that the level of taxation is so high that people and companies who earn a lot by contributing a great deal to the economy are fleeing the country? Whose fault is it that the whole system is complicated to the point of complete incomprhension with endless additions here and there that allow, nay, encourage tax avoidance?

As for the media and the many vox pop comments on the subject, one begins to despair. No, not begins - one despairs completely and utterly.

It appears that there is no clear distinction in people's minds between tax avoidance (completely legal and one anyone who has an ISA or a complex pension arrangement is taking part in) and tax evasion (illegal but one many people indulge in whenever they pay in cash to avoid VAT). It, furthermore, appears that people have no ability to grasp the similarity between international companies choosing the country with the best tax system in which to pay tax and them choosing the best ISA or pension fund. The words "international" and "company" act as a red rag and all ability to think disappears. Finally, it would appear that having read about arrangements to pay low or no corporation tax, journalists, politicians and others who express opinion, assume that it means no tax at all being paid. No National Insurance, income tax, VAT, business rate. Nothing.

It is such a relief to be able to read a sensible analysis of the issue on the Adam Smith Institution blog. I recommend it to anyone whose blood pressure is going through the ceiling. Happily, I am genetically predisposed towards low blood pressure. Otherwise, I would have had to abandon politics a long time ago.

1 comment:

  1. I entirely agree with the entirely honorable Chancellor that I have a moral duty to pay my "fair" share. Though I fear that his definition of what constitutes a "fair" share and mine may differ by as much as an order of magnitude. Also that I have no great faith in the ability of the House of Commons to exercise restraint on themselves, let alone enforce restraint on the Government.