In support of ‘outing’ of tax haven users (or “only the little people pay taxes”)

Further to my recent post (here) where I asked our MP, John Glen, to support the Private Members Bill: General Anti-Tax Avoidance Principle Bill (HC Bill 25), I can report back that Mr Glen has replied to my message and has also written on this topic in the Salisbury Journal: In support of ‘outing’ of tax haven users (John Glen MP, Salisbury Journal, 13th September 2012).

Unfortunately, in the Journal article, although seeming to be sympathetic to the Christian Aid proposal that governments cooperate in outing organisations that use tax havens, Mr Glen concentrates on the situation abroad. This neatly avoids the fact that London is a centre for tax evasion, with UK banks and financial companies being world leaders in encouraging and organising tax avoidance.

The UK also has direct or indirect influence over the majority of the worlds Tax Havens most of which are Crown Dependencies or UK overseas territories.  This means that the UK has the opportunity to lead the world in reform of these tax havens and the tax avoidance industry and to expose and attack other big Tax Havens like Singapore and Switzerland. Unfortunately the reality is that  successive governments, and particularly the current one,  simply cave in to industry lobbying and either water down any proposals or avoid action altogether.  The impression this gives is not helped when the financial interests of so many MPs and Lords are linked to Tax avoidance. It certainly seems that we will be wasting our time if we wait for George Osborn to act in any more than a token fashion.

Peter Curbishley has written an excellent response to John Glen’s article here: ‘Outing’ users of tax havens (PETER CURBISHLEY, Wednesday 19th September 2012 in Salisbury Journal Letters page)

Here is an article demonstrating that conservatives just ‘don’t get it’: 
Tory treasurer wants UK to become [even] more like a tax haven
(Guardian, 20th Sept 2012)

These two sites provide some balance to what we read in the media about tax issues – well worth a look:

Morally repugnant tax avoiders can rest easy under David Cameron – With insane hubris, a few treaties and a lot of money moving from tax haven to tax haven is called a success (Guardian 21 Sept 2012)

“Only the little people pay tax”

The Governments “General Anti-Abuse Rule” “GAAR” is designed to aid, abet and reward tax dodging.

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