I read with profound disappointment that the new Government policy on using buying power to deter tax avoidance. It doesn’t go far enough.
The acid test is whether it would ban all the people I don’t like, starting with Belinda Dodwell and her lot. But because it doesn’t do that it must be a total failure. Apparently, giving tax advice is not evil enough to warrant being made a pariah.
What we want to do is say to tax advisers “stop advising your clients on how to do things tax efficiently”. Just let businesses do things how they want to do it and then we’ll figure out how they are taxed afterwards. It’s not fair that businesses even think about tax as part of any decision making process.
By considering the tax costs in advance, they are cheating. It’s like looking at the answers to an exam before you look at the questions. So talking to a tax adviser is an act of cheating which means that not only is it tax avoidance, it’s immoral and therefore illegal, despite being completely alegal.
That exam cheating metaphor is one that really works. It helps non-tax experts understand something clearly without having to think about it too hard.
Taxpayers have no business reading the tax legislation and deciding not to do something. That’s immoral. Parliament didn’t intend you not to do what you were going to do because they want to tax you on that thing, so by not doing it you are thwarting the Will of Parliament and committing tax avoidance.
Accountancy firms are part of that process. They tell people when something is going to produce good revenues for The State but then try to deter them from doing it. It’s not because they think it’s ethical in some way, it’s because they are politically motivated neoliberals who are trying to undermine the fabric of society.
What business ought to do is ignore tax legislation altogether. It’s what Margaret Hodge does and look how well-respected she is.