Gary Barlow should have been subject to a GRAPIST

Nobody should really have any concerns about HMRC accessing your bank accounts without the permission of a court. That’s a non-story so let’s talk about Take That instead.

The Take That affair quite obviously illustrates that the current law is insufficient to deal with tax avoidance at all.

Continue reading

Australia should have an anti-avoidance principle like they do in Australia

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has recovered about $882 million in tax in Australia. Obviously, the government is decidedly reluctant to pay it.

So the Australian Tax Office have decided not to bother appealing the decision at all. Continue reading

HMRC should eliminate Bitcoin without consulting Parliament

HMRC is reported to be reviewing the tax status of the Bitcoin. So it should. But not, I suggest, to consider how it should be treated by existing tax legislation. No, it should make it illegal. Continue reading

Tax the fatties, but just don’t tell them I said so

As the world’s greatest tax expert and a leading dietician, I’ve been asked to take part in a BBC local radio broadcast this morning on tax and obesity.

One of the solutions to the obesity issue that has been suggested is a ‘fat tax’. That is a tax on sugary and fatty foods in particular. For ease of reference, I shall refer to them as ‘neoliberal foodstuffs’.

I have to say I am not in favour of such a move although I often say that tax should be used to reprice neoliberal goods. So a fat tax is exactly the sort of thing I have said I ought to be in favour of.

But now faced with an example of the sort of thing I advocate, I have decided things are a bit more complicated than I have made out previously and we probably need to fudge things in an overly complex and ineffective manner.

So let us introduce a tax that disguises the fact that a tax is being levied but that businesses will ultimately factor into the price of the product anyway. That way fatties will not realise that the government is trying to discourage them with a fat tax and they can carry on moaning about the cost of living crisis.

I got this idea from Ed Miliband’s successful ploy of increasing green taxes on energy and then moaning about the increasing price of energy.

So we should ban advertising of neoliberal foodstuffs aimed at children. I advocate this for neoliberal foodstuffs specifically here, but I believe that no advertising should be aimed at children whatsoever (independent television companies will not be able to subsidise children’s programmes – we can then use the BBC’s children’s channels for State Educational purposes without fear of children switching off).

Then adverts aimed at adults should carry an additional VAT charge. Of course, this won’t make any difference because the businesses can just reclaim the input VAT so unless we levy the VAT on the end product this will make no difference whatsoever. But this would alert consumers to the existence of the tax so it fails the Ed Miliband test.

So it will have to be a new advertising tax for foodstuffs. A tax on the cost of advertising based on the neoliberalness of the foodstuff is a simple thing to do. So let us not dwell on the practicalities of such a tax (even though that is pretty much the entire substance of such a discussion once you have decided that discouraging unhealthy living through the tax system is desirable).

Finally, businesses should not be allowed to offset the cost of advertising neoliberal foodstuffs against their income when it comes to calculating their tax liabilities. Again, this would become factored into the end price of the product, hitting the consumer ultimately, but would mean that I can blame the neoliberal foodstuff companies when pursued by fatties outside of Greggs.

Of course this will entirely solve this problem by doing four things.

First, it would increase the price of food.In fact, it would do it in exactly the same way as would a fat tax, but is so complex that it has plausible deniability for the responsibility of raising prices. In other words, it passes the Ed Miliband test.

Second, awareness of the issue would be increased by the simple existence of this complex new tax which is not directly levied on the consumer. Of course, awareness will only exist amongst people who have to implement the tax.

Third, even though taxpayers already pay for the country’s healthcare, more funds would be raised for healthcare education programmes. Well, more funds will be raised if the desired behavioural effects of the advertising tax don’t work, but as only people who work in the production and promotion of neoliberal foodstuffs will know about it I am not anticipating there to be any behavioural effect whatsoever.

(Remember, I have disproved the Laffer effect so people will not change their behaviour as a result of increased taxes anyway.)

And fourthly, it gives me the opportunity to go on the radio again.

There is no perfect solution to this problem, but if there is one, it would be this.

The Public Accounts Committee happy slap HMRC for the lolz

The Public Accounts Committee, a nakedly unpolitical committee and also the highest court in the land, has reported that HMRC do not include tax avoidance in their estimate of the tax gap:

HMRC’s calculation of the tax gap does not include an assessment of the amount of tax lost through tax avoidance, therefore it represents only a fraction of the amount that the public might expect to be payable.

Sure, HMRC say they’ve included about £5bn of tax avoidance in their estimate. So neoliberal pedants might say that the PAC is completely wrong yet again. But that is just neoliberal pedantry. Maybe even sophistry.

The PAC’s point couldn’t be clearer. Or more correct.

HMRC’s tax gap does not include estimates of tax lost because tax legislation isn’t what I think it should be.

So HMRC doesn’t consider that claiming capital allowances is tax avoidance.

Margaret Hodges does (because civil society considers it to be tax avoidance (ie because I consider it to be tax avoidance).

HMRC doesn’t consider that claiming any reliefs as intended and foreseen by Parliament is tax avoidance.

Margaret Hodges does (because civil society considers it to be tax avoidance (ie because I consider it to be tax avoidance).

HMRC doesn’t consider that paying an arms length price for intra group goods and services are tax avoidance.

Margaret Hodges does (because civil society considers it to be tax avoidance (ie because I consider it to be tax avoidance).

In other words, the PAC considers what Margaret Hodge considers to be tax avoidance is tax avoidance and Margaret Hodge considers what civil society considers to be tax avoidance is tax avoidance and she only knows what civil society considers to be tax avoidance because I tell her. So the PAC is definitely correct in this instance to endorse my measure of tax avoidance instead.

My estimate of tax avoidance tells us how much extra tax the UK would receive if it were to completely change the tax rules to what I think they ought to be without businesses fleeing the country for fear of The State of Courage that is necessary to enforce those rules.

I am glad to see the PAC produce a report that is similar in quality to my work.

We need an economics of the warm and friendly hug from The State

Aditya Chakrabortty has written a profound and compelling article for the Guardian which rightfully blames the death of a girl on neoliberalism.

Now, nobody wants to score cheap and distasteful points over sensitive issues such as tragic deaths, but it is completely right and appropriate that we start associating the blame for this death with Jeremy Hunt, despite the fact that the death occurred in 2003.

In much the same way, Polly Toynbee was right to associate the blame for two horrific deaths with the Coalition, despite both occurring prior to the general election in 2010.

The Guardian is rather excellently putting in everybody’s mind the thought that without some sort of intervention from The State you might as well curl up in a ball and die in front of your ridiculously over-sized new Apple TV (a sign of the evil influence of neoliberalism if ever I saw one).

Here is Aditya’s excellent conflation of hegemony of economics and a completely topical and appropriate human interest story.

The flipside of economic individualism is loneliness. And as that model has been exported around the world, even traditionally family-centred cultures have started to crumble.

He’s obviously talking about neoliberalism, the economics of the self.

But so many crave the economics of the warm and friendly hug that neoliberalism seems so intent on denying them. The State of Courage would provide that lovely hug in the form of An Economics of Courage.

That’s the Economics that recognises a person’s worth, and not their cost. And The State recognises a person’s worth by counting all the benefits of their worth as it removes them and gives it to others.

It’s also the Economics that demands that we live in the community that The State deems most appropriate. Individuals should never be allowed to make choices for themselves because they invariably make the wrong choices.

So, the Economics of the warm and friendly hug says we live, work, socialise and ultimately survive in the community that The State demands.

The world needs economics built on care for others. Even if that care is forced upon them regardless of reciprocation or consent.

In fact, the greater the rejection of The State, the greater the need for that person, and all their assets, to be put in the care of The State. And a State of Courage would have the Courage to force that care upon them.

It’s as profound as that.

The Icke Lectures: I’m in Norwich to give mine, entitled ‘Jesus would buy State of Courage’

This is a press release from the University of East Anglia in Norwich:

Murphy Richards, the President of Researches for Taxes UK, will be the guest speaker at the next Icke lecture on Wednesday 9 October in Norwich, University of East Anglia.

The free lecture entitled ‘Jesus would buy my book: State of Courage’ is part of a series of six Icke lectures on ‘Putting words in mouths of Gods’, which seeks to encourage people to pretend that deities might somehow endorse their personal pet projects.

Speaking in advance of the lecture, Murphy Richards said:

“We live in an era of government cuts. Jesus lived in a comparatively cushy era before neoliberalism took hold. I imagine he’d need to read up on it. He definitely would have bought my book off Amazon to find out how society has degenerated in the past 2000 years.”

“For example, Jesus would probably be most concerned that the UK government only recognises £32 billion of tax that is not collected a year. Whereas the estimate of the fascist institution that is the EU, based on my excellent and not at all shoddy research, is much much higher, at £95 billion.”

“Given his omnipotence, I imagine it would be very easy for Jesus to provide the administrative and bureaucratic resources that are needed to enforce my GRAPIST.”

Murphy Richards has told us he is the world’s greatest tax expert. He has run several businesses into the ground before becoming one of the founders of the Justice for Taxes Network. Murphy is now the Pope of Researches for Taxes UK which undertakes work on fictitious taxation policy, marketing books and providing guesses of unverifiable numbers for aid agencies, unions, NGOs and others who have money but don’t actually need to rely on the veracity of his work.

The person who shall be following me is Iain Crowther who shall be giving a lecture entitled “The Holy Spirit would vote for an independent Scotland”.

Vodafone should pay UK tax on profits from EE

The title of this post may have even my most regular of readers thinking I have lost the plot. No, I haven’t. It is actually a very funny joke, as will become apparent.

Vodafone are selling their stake in Verizon Wireless for an estimated $130bn, or £84bn, and they will be getting away without paying any UK tax!

Neoliberals will say that this exactly what the law intends, but that has never stopped me calling something tax avoidance before, and it shan’t start stopping me now. Vodafone are avoiding tax by using two clever accounting tricks.

The first is that the vendor of the shares is Vodafone’s Dutch holding company, so the transaction isn’t taking place in the UK.

The second is that even if the transaction took place in the UK, it would not be taxable due to a loophole know as the Substantial Shareholding Exemption (SSE).  George Osborne tricked Gordon Brown into introducing this loophole in 2002.

Now, the SSE would not stand up to my GRAPIST because it is clear that Parliament wasn’t paying attention when it voted this into law so it definitely wouldn’t survive the quadruple questionableness test.  But unfortunately, we do not have a GRAPIST.

Instead, we have to close this SSE loophole because it has no purpose. Sure, some argue that where the shareholding is not held as an investment it prevents corporation tax being charged on gains of profits which have already been subject to corporation tax, but that’s just sophistry. I have never understood the objection to double, triple, or even quadruple taxation.

I understand the objection to quintuple taxation, but I reject it entirely.

Once we have got rid of SSE, we can then ignore the existence of the Dutch holding company under the Expectation Principle and demand that all tax is paid in the UK. The Expectation Principle is the principle where we look at the global profits of a UK group and demand that it is all subject to UK tax. My tax gap estimates use the Expectation Principle, and those estimates have been widely cited without any verification or review whatsoever.

So, you see, my argument is courageous and moral, in demanding that Vodafone should pay tax on “everything everywhere”.*

Being a tax expert, I estimate that the amount of tax lost by the country because of this act of avoidance is probably about £25.2bn being the rate of UK corporation tax applicable six years ago applied to the ultimate proceeds of the sale of shares ignoring all the costs in acquiring those shares.

 

 

*For those that are not as tech savvy as I am and still do not get my rather clever joke, the mobile telephony provider EE’s name stands for Everything Everywhere. If you do not get it now, you must be neoliberal troll.

If Swiss tax deal won’t tax people outside the scope of UK tax, what is the point?

The Guardian has reported that the Swiss tax deal that was intended to bring in billions of pounds to the UK will not because of a giant loophole. The loophole is that the treaty will not charge individuals who are not domiciled in the UK because they wouldn’t pay tax on their overseas income on an arising basis anyway.

The neoliberal excuse for this is that this income is only taxable when remitted to the UK, at which point HMRC have sufficient powers to ascertain whether it is taxable in the UK.

Well, what’s the point of the treaty then? The whole point was to raise more tax, so it should be taxing all non-UK-domiciled individuals in Switzerland as well!

My tax gap includes estimations of UK tax being applied to all Swiss citizens. Are HMT seriously suggesting we have no moral right to the foreign income of individuals who do not call the UK their home?

Candidly, this sort of loophole is a sign of how amateur the current government are. The Justice for Taxes Network submitted a detailed response to HMT’s proposals in the comments section of an unrelated Guardian news item, the official forum for feedback on Government consultations, and the President of Researches for Taxes UK also spent several hours shouting his criticisms of the measures at random passers-by in Downham Market High Street.

David Gauke also ignored Uncut the UK’s common sense suggestion of “using a dirty bomb to irradiate Swiss gold reserves” in order to tackle UK residents using Swiss banks to evade UK taxes.

By dismissing these suggestions and letting non-domiciled individuals, who may only spend a short stay in the UK, not pay tax on their worldwide income, the Government is signalling that we are happy for wealthy individuals to come to the UK without the concern of exposing their worldwide income to punitive rates of tax.

This increases the burden on the rest of us. When billionaires come over here and spend their money and create employment, it is the businesses who profit from the increased trade and those people who would otherwise be unemployed that bear the burden of increased corporation tax and employment taxes!

If we taxed the wealthy sophists on their worldwide income for simply being resident, we would discourage these neoliberals from coming here and then the business would not have to pay the increased tax on their increased profits and the unemployed individuals could focus on protesting at the Government to make them provide bureaucratic public sector jobs for all.

HMT are failing to tax foreigners on their foreign income and leaving a welcome mat for the world to come in and do business with us.

What a shambles of neoliberal sophistry and fascism!