Taxing Morality

David Cameron told to stop moralising to multinationals over tax.

Indeed. It is becoming an increasing irritation to see politicians of all stripes trying to make tax a moral issue. Tax is a legal matter, not a moral one. We are obliged to pay tax because the law says we must. Nothing more, nothing less. Avoiding tax is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent –  and, indeed, some taxes are supposed to be designed for just that purpose in order to mould our behaviour. If you are self-employed you will be arranging your affairs to minimise that bill come the end of January. If you don’t, you are a fool. After all, the money you hand over to the great and glorious hmrc will mostly be wasted, so the more of it that remains in your bank account, the more of it will be spent wisely –  one hopes. Certainly, I am very aggressive when managing my affairs and will spend as much as I can on business related items that will reduce the amount I hand over. This is not immoral. It is perfectly legal and is, as far as I am concerned, a sacred duty. It is my money, not the state’s. I have gone out to work to earn it, the state merely takes it with the threat of violence should I not comply –  this is the behaviour of the highwayman. I am not the one with a moral compass deficiency here.

Certainly I will not take any lectures on morality from a bunch of vacuous career politicians who have never done a real days work in their lives and have never had to suffer the consequences of their ill-conceived and spiteful policies and binge legislation. Given that, I will minimise the amount of money they extort from me to harass and hector me on my lifestyle, to piss up the wall on various fake charities, sock puppets and quangos, all of whom are hand in pocket with these shysters and charlatans.

Also, bear in mind that some of the most outspoken moralisers –  particularly those on the self-professed left or “progressive” wing of the debate are, themselves, tax avoiders (yes, you, Ms Hodge). Tax avoidance is good, it is wise and thoughtful accounting, it is legal –  it is not tax evasion, which is not. So, frankly, I’m right behind the CBI –  shut the fuck up, Cameron. Tax is not a moral issue, it is an evil thrust upon us by a bunch of thieves, criminals, charlatans and popinjays who spend a significant proportion of it on stuff we neither need not want. Therefore, the less they get, the better.


  1. Tax is most definitely a moral issue, it is our moral obligation to avoid it as much as is legally possible.

    The state is made up of legislators and employees whose only job is to legislate and spend. Human nature – and historical experience – shows that they will legislate and spend as much as they possibly can unless checked.

    We are now at such high levels of taxation compared with GDP (over 50% in many developed nations) that legislators have trouble legislating for more money to spend as it is politically damaging to their re-election. They know this which is why we have seen many policies since 2000 which seek to bribe the public with spending of *other* people’s money. For example, minimum wage, paternity pay, auto-enrolment pensions, plus talk of a living wage etc.

    The control of excessive legislation on taxes is fear of electoral defeat; the control on excessive spending (which they’d naturally wish to do) is to deprive the state of excessive money to spend, thereby forcing them to live within their means or have to explain themselves for accumulating debt.

    Governments have reached the limit of what they can get away with from the electorate with taxation in relation to GDP; they have almost exhausted other people’s money that they can spend; so they are now scrambling around trying to claim that it is “immoral” to follow their own rules and use perfectly acceptable avoidance methods. Just to hoover up more money to spend.

    Avoiding tax is therefore a part of democratic process, and we should be proud to be part of checks and balances on out-of-control government by doing so. Tax avoiders can rightfully claim the moral high ground IMO. 😉

  2. I expect Ms Hodge will moving her “children’s” share holdings and those held in trust into her own account any day soon. After all she wouldn’t want to be seen avoiding tax on the dividends and on the children’s inheritance would she?

    On the subject of ‘morality’ what is ‘moral’ about Insurance Premium Tax? Or VAT on insulation materials?

    At the end of the day it is the common man that pays. Tax the companies and the companies ‘tax’ the customer. It is all part of the scam where we are supposed to think that tax rates are going down, (income tax), whilst pushing up VAT and adding hidden charges to the citizen such as business/trade registration/certification fees.

    • If we’re talking VAT morals, what is moral about charging VAT on hospital parking charges for people visiting sick relatives? As LR rightly said:

      “I will not take any lectures on morality from a bunch of vacuous career politicians”

  3. but, but , but – Isn’t it fair , isn’t it reform .
    Your having more money than me is definetly not EQUAl. So there.

  4. Given that, I will minimise the amount of money they extort from me to harass and hector me on my lifestyle, to piss up the wall on various fake charities, sock puppets and quangos, all of whom are hand in pocket with these shysters and charlatans.

    Brilliant! Don’t you hold back, now, LR! Stop all this pussyfooting around and tell it like it is!!

  5. I always enjoy the: “yeah, obviously you shouldn’t pay more tax than you owe, but what is immoral is hiring tax accountants to minimise your tax.” I even got it from my dad. He was banging on about the rich. I don’t really consider myself rich (I can’t stop work tomorrow) but most lefties would, so I said “Dad, I’m rich and I don’t see why I should pay more tax than the law requires.” He then grumbled something about only talking about those rich people who hire accountants to reduce their tax. I pointed out that I was one of those people which resulted in a somewhat uncomfortable silence.

    Hiring an accountant is precisely how I ensure I don’t pay more tax than the law requires. My expertise is as an engineer. I do not have an expert knowledge of the tax laws and don’t have time to spend hours investigating them. Just as people come to me for my engineering expertise, I go to my accountant for his expertise. If I didn’t it would be a racing certainty that I’d be paying too much tax.

    I’ve always believed that, in addition to there being a flat tax rate, there should be a point at which the amount someone has paid really is enough for the state to ask any one person to contribute irrespective of their earnings. I’m not sure what that amount should be but surely if you cough up 10 million that ought to be enough.

  6. Vacuous indeed. Seems to me governments are merely stallholders in a global market, if they charge too much customers pass them by. If they take too much out of the business their stall starts to look tatty. If their products are a bit tatty they must cut the price – aka tax breaks.

    Sorry Cameron and Hodge, face reality, new, shiny and eager market stalls are springing up every day – prepare for a takeover or a merger.

  7. 1. There is a tax code passed into law by Parliament. Either an individual/company obeys the law, which is tax compliance, or one disobeys the law, which is tax evasion. There is nothing in between.

    2. The Revenue has a duty to collect taxes owed under the law, not what some feel is ‘fair’ or ‘moral’

    In the event either the taxpayer or the tax collector thinks the tax law has not been properly applied, they go to a place called ‘Court’ in which a judicial process determines the case in accordance with the law, not what is ‘fair’ or ‘moral’.

    This is what happens in all cases where the interpretation and application of any law is in dispute. It is called ‘ the rule of law’ upon which our quaint culture is based so that agitated people cannot impose their own version of things onto others, according to their whim and fancy.

    Where the Revenue has challenged compliance with the law, Goldman Sachs, Vodafone and Amazon, the Court has ruled in favour of the corporations. So tax compliance.

    3. The most curious thing about all the bellyaching going on, is it is by those who make the law. If they do not like the law, they should change it instead of getting angry at those who are complying with the law.

    4. The CT law is outside the competence of the UK Parliament as it is governed by an EC Directive and would require the agreement of the Commission and the other 26 Member States to change… so good luck with that.

    5. The EC Directive was designed specifically to allow the ‘immoral’ and ‘unfair’ practices that have set our moral guardians in such a lather, to do their unfair and immoral stuff, so as to create competition between the Member States and thereby keep CT tax down, because in a rare moment of sanity the EC realised that high CT drives business away, whereas low CT attracts.

    6. Amazon is also relying on a bilateral tax treaty between the UK and Luxembourg which goes back to 1968 signed up to by Harold Wilson and the then Labour Government.

    I suppose the fact it has taken 45 years for the penny to drop among the political numpties about the implications of tax treaties, which they still do not fully understand, is a good guide to why we are where we are.

  8. I so wish the various CEO’s that appeared in front of her committee had had a bit more gumption and told her to f. o. in no uncertain terms.

    As it is, they were spineless and did not give the impression that the law was on their side.

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