Market leading insight for tax experts
View online issue

Press watch: Aggressive tax avoidance is ‘unaffordable’

printer Mail

‘People who shelter income through a [Jersey-based tax avoidance scheme] do so safe in the knowledge that there is no public record of who has put money in or how much. Indeed, they are doubly protected: even if HMRC investigates the scheme and finds it to be abusive, HMRC officials may reclaim the lost tax revenue but are largely bound by law from disclosing the identity of the avoider. It is an oddity of the system that Jersey, a Crown dependency, not only serves as a tax haven but provides anonymity to tax avoiders …

‘To be sure, there is a big difference between tax planning and aggressive tax avoidance. One involves prudence, the other pretence. A person who manages their money in the best interests of their families and with no concerns that they are flouting the intentions of Parliament should have nothing to fear from a crackdown on abuse of the tax code. That is not the case for those involved in schemes that, with a nod and a wink, claim to have a business purpose but are primarily structured so that wealthy people can avoid paying tax.

‘We are living through an age of austerity. There have been cuts to public services and there will be more. In such circumstances, aggressive tax avoidance is not only unfair, it is unaffordable.’

Leading article, The Times, 5 October 2012