Here we go again. The old chestnut of tax avoidance being equated with tax evasion is back in the papers today.
The paywall-free Mail reports about a number of BBC ‘stars’ who elect to be freelancers and paid as ‘personal service contractors’, rather than work on the BBC payroll.
The benefits are clear. The BBC doesn’t have to pay tax on the money it pays to the freelancer (other than VAT on the invoiced sum), as the freelancer is a ‘company’ entity and responsible for paying taxes due for the services they provide. The freelancer can pay a lower effective tax rate than an employee, depending on how they organise their directorships, salary, costs and expenses and dividend arrangements.
But yet again we see the grubbing politicians, who are so preoccupied with hoovering up as much of our money as possible in order to control how money is spent, making moronic statements that demonstrate they are trying to con the public and demonise people who have done nothing wrong. As the Mail puts it:
There is no suggestion that any of the individuals named have acted improperly but MPs accused the BBC of having ‘staggeringly inappropriate’ arrangements in place for many employees and said it could be ‘complicit’ in tax avoidance.
Complicit in tax avoidance? What the hell? This is the equivalent of criticising drivers for going along a road at 30mph in a 30mph limit by claiming they are complicit in driving within the speed limit. The argument is completely ludicrous. The pressure that has been applied to lead to this unnecessary change is an example of excessively powerful government that is out of control. Personal freedom is being infringed as a result of undue pressure being brought to bear by the over powerful state.
There is nothing wrong with tax avoidance, which is the arranging of your financial affairs so that you legitimately pay less tax. It is legal and responsible. Yet some politicians, whose only motivation is wanting more of our money to control and use to service their whims, have even gone as far as coining the expression ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ to describe the active effort to find legitimate ways of a person or company arranging their affairs to ensure they pay as little tax as necessary within the law. In using this description they are deliberately attempting to mislead people into thinking these individuals and companies are engaging in tax evasion – the illegal and criminal act which is the deliberate failure to provide full and accurate information about income and assets to the tax authorities so tax liability can be correctly assessed and demands applied within the law.
Although it is our money the refrain of the politicians is, ‘but we want it and are taking it’. We no longer have a Parliament. We have an elected Court of Robber Barons.
And they are doing all they can to bully, threaten and demonise individuals and companies into handing over money they have no legal obligation to pay. Starbucks being a case in point, having suffered so much reputational damage at the hands of politicians and blinkered campaign groups who believe government should control everything, they voluntarily offered to pay millions of pounds to the Exchequer they were not liable for in order to put an end to the blackmail they were subjected to. You read that right, Starbucks were blackmailed into handing over money because politicians did all they could to turn people against the company, which was wrongly being painted as abusing tax law. That should engender fear in everyone.
Taxation has long since ceased to be the process for raising funds to be spent on essential public services and infrastructure. It is now a form of oppressive control to restrict the ability of individuals to use their money as they see fit. The funds raised are squandered on whims and discretionary spending to bribe people into voting the politicians back into office, which is not dissimilar to the use of taxes in medieval times to fund the adventurism of monarchs and luxury of lords.
In a classic abuse of language, the politicians hark on about people having to pay their ‘fair share’, even though this invariably means people with larger incomes and who use public services far less than most other citizens, paying the same contribution as many other people combined. There is no sense of proportion in all this. They have the money and the government wants it, so it rigs the system to ensure it gets it. But in their bubble this is supposedly fair.
The only way this country will ever see responsible taxation and use of our money by the government is when the people have the power to block spending plans that service the interests of the politicians rather than the interests of the population. This road leads back to The Harrogate Agenda, and the fifth of the six demands:
5. No taxation or spending without consent: no tax, charge or levy shall be imposed, nor any public spending authorised, nor any sum borrowed by any national or local government except with the express approval the majority of the people, renewed annually on presentation of a budget which shall first have been approved by their respective legislatures
Only with such democratic control can anyone in this country ever talk about tax in terms of fairness.