Friday 13 April 2012
Letter 62: George's tax awareness is astonishing
What an extraordinary state of affairs - despite being Chancellor of the Exchequer for two years, George has only just realised that lots of very rich people in the UK avoid paying their full share of tax. That really is staggering because it suggests that either he's not done his sums properly or he's turned a blind eye till now. Did the penny drop when he realised that just twenty people managed between them to avoid £145 million in tax, that if he helped HMRC to do it's job properly there would be less need for public sector cuts? Has he not realised that the rich have seen their incomes rise by 56% in the last decade? And they've used tax loopholes such as those mentioned here, (in loopholes: GIVE MONEY TO YOUR FAMILY/ MAKE A LOSS ON YOUR BUSINESS/ BUY LOTS OF HOUSES TO LET AND MORTGAGE THEM TO THE HILT/ GIVE TO CHARITIES) to keep hold of more of it? Astonishing!
How did he miss this? There's been more than enough evidence. In 2008 Richard J Murphy produced a report for the TUC called "THE MISSING BILLIONS". In it he said that there was at least £13 billion of personal tax avoidance in the UK and a further £8 billion of excess reliefs granted to very wealthy people. see: http://www.tuc.org.uk/touchstone/missingbillions/1missingbillions.pdf and then think about how in these straightened times, that collected tax could help the most vulnerable in society, who still seem to be struggling disproportionately as a result of your austerity measures.
It's good that George intends to deal with tax avoidance , but it seems that the narrow GAAR that your government intends to use for legislation in 2013 will not go far enough - a much wider rule is needed according to a report published by the Association of Revenue and Customs today. They warn that the proposal put forward by Graham Aaranson QC (which you intend to use) may actually help the cheats. Now that just wouldn't be fair, would it?
Best wishes... etc
See: www.fda.org.uk/Media/Union-questions-Government-stance-on-tax-avoidance-aspx "