Tag Archives: avoidance

Scotland joins Wales to ban Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues. Wales and Scotland have made this clear; let’s see Westminster do the same.

Quite right too. If you’ve opted out of paying tax when the going was easy, then you can’t try to get help from the taxpayer in hard times.

Has the Tory government in Westminster made this decision yet?

The Scottish parliament has voted to block companies based in tax havens from using millions of pounds in coronavirus relief funding, in emergency legislation.

MSPs approved measures on Wednesday night brokered by the Scottish Greens to prohibit firms or individuals who are registered in tax havens, or are a subsidiary of an offshore company, from getting support grants.

The vote follows similar decisions by the Welsh government last week and by other EU member states, including Denmark and France, but ministers have yet to say how much Scottish government spending will be affected or how it will be enforced.

It is thought it could prevent companies with offshore links from applying to a new £120m enterprise resilience fund that provides grants for small- and medium-sized firms, and a £30m creative, tourism and hospitality bailout fund for firms that cannot get business rates relief.

The Welsh government blocked companies with headquarters in a tax haven from accessing its £500m economic resilience fund on 15 May. Ministers in Cardiff said last week it would affect a small number of companies.

Source: Scotland bans Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens | Politics | The Guardian

As corporations send billions to tax havens, who do you think will pay for Covid-19?

Rishi Sunak: it seems he expects the poor to pay for coronavirus while the rich send billions of pounds to tax havens.

The Conservative government has allowed the super-rich to squirrel billions of pounds away in tax havens, while whining that the UK will have to tighten its national belt if it is to pay for the coronavirus crisis.

Legislation from 2016 that was intended to stop £2.5 billion in taxation from being lost to tax havens is being deliberately ignored by the Tories, according to the Tax Justice Network.

This is cash that could be used to help pay for the cost of coping with Covid-19, but instead it seems the Tories want working people and the very poor to pay for it.

Who is better-equipped? The idle rich who won’t do anything with the money apart from keep it away from the national purse? Or the vulnerable poor who will be trodden into the dirt by the deprivation of even more of their vital income?

According to the Tax Justice Network:

The UK missed out on collecting £2.5 billion a year in corporate tax from multinational corporations due to the UK government failing to exercise a 2016 tax transparency law designed to prevent billions in corporate tax abuse.

Asked whether Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to exercise powers under the Finance Act 2016 to make multinationals’ country by country reporting data public, the UK Treasury confirmed to Parliament this week that is has reversed its 2016 commitment to publishing the data at a national level, and is blocking the OECD from publishing the data at an international level.

Had the UK government exercised the powers afforded to it by the Finance Act 2016 to publish corporations’ country by country reporting data, the UK could have prevented at least £10 billion in corporate tax from being lost to tax havens since 2016, which could for example have offset the £6.6 billion the NHS is expected to receive in Covid-19 funding, and provided for additional investment in crucial equipment.

Source: UK u-turns on commitment to tax transparency, giving up £10 billion in corporate tax

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By-election candidate supports tax avoidance for the rich – but hammered the vulnerable with the bedroom tax

Chris Davies: He supports tax avoidance and evasion, according to his voting record.

If you were reading This Site yesterday (July 30), you’ll be aware that a friend on Facebook has been looking at the Parliamentary voting record of Chris Davies, the former MP and current Conservative candidate in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – and it makes grim reading.

The same friend has now finished researching Mr Davies’s record on taxation and the results speak for themselves. Amongst other decisions…

• Davies voted against a series of proposals intended to reduce tax avoidance and evasion.
• Davies voted against an investigation into the banking industry’s failure to prevent tax evasion.
• Davies voted against requiring multinational enterprises to publish a country by country tax strategy including information on their attitude to tax planning (this could have established evidence to show how companies avoid paying tax).
• Davies voted against giving the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority duties to combat abusive tax avoidance arrangements.
• Davies voted not to support the publishing full details of the Government’s tax settlement with Google and for an international agreement to implement country-by-country reporting of company accounts.

So you can see that Mr Davies is a big fan of tax avoidance and evasion by corporations and the very rich. Conversely:

• Davies voted to ensure that victims of domestic abuse would have to pay extra charges – the bedroom tax – if they were provided with a secure tenancy that incorporates a spare room.

So he’s against tax fairness; he would let corporations and the rich get away without paying a huge amount of tax that would hugely contribute to public services, but he’s happy to hammer the vulnerable with an unfair and random tax that affects people according to the accommodation that is allocated to them (which in turn is based on what is available).

I hope the people of Brecon and Radnorshire pay attention to this abysmal record – while also remembering that Mr Davies is himself a convict, having been found guilty of faking expenses claims earlier this year.

Mr Davies should never have been voted into Westminster. It is time to kick him back into the political wilderness.

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Conflict of interest: Treasury minister linked to firm which profits from tax enquiries

Mel Stride: Conflict of interest?

Conservatives and corruption – once again those words appear to fit together like they were made for each other.

It is not credible for a Conservative MP with connections to the tax avoidance industry to be involved in efforts to curtail that industry’s activities.

But that is what we see in the employment of Mel Stride on such work in the Treasury, when his father – also Melvin Stride – sells “tax investigation insurance” to safeguard possible tax avoiders from HMRC prosecution.

Apparently nobody in the government saw anything amiss with that.

Now for a very important question.

Do you know someone who voted Conservative in the local elections?

If so, why not remind them that their vote supports this corruption?

tax avoidance crackdown is being spearheaded by a Treasury minister whose father sells insurance to those being targeted by HMRC.

Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury since 2017, has been the Government’s main spokesman on the controversial “loan charge” policy, a campaign that targets those who used so-called “disguised remuneration” schemes dating back 20 years.

His father, also called Melvyn Stride, owns a company that sells “tax investigation insurance” to businesses subject to HMRC inquiries, Telegraph Money can disclose.

Source: Treasury minister linked to firm which profits from tax enquiries

How many of the BBC’s household names are also tax cheats?

Breaking news: But this time the BBC is the news.

You see that household-name BBC TV presenter you like so much? Chances are, they’ve been cheating on their taxes.

That’s what HM Revenue and Customs is implying in its revelation that more than 100 BBC presenters are being investigated for alleged tax avoidance.

So, while you and I have been working hard to pay the TV licence fee – a tax imposed on all of us before we can watch not only BBC shows but any TV at all – it seems they have been ducking out of paying their fair share.

And they’re being paid a fortune! We’re discussing people who have been paid at least £150,000 per year.

I should stress that this is only an investigation; nobody has actually been found guilty of anything – yet.

But if they are, This Writer wants them to be named and punished.

As for the BBC itself – the Corporation seems to have allowed these people to cheat by paying them through personal service companies, whatever they may be.

What’s wrong with good old Pay As You Earn? The rest of us have to put up with it – why not these entitled ‘faces’?

More than 100 BBC presenters are under investigation for alleged tax avoidance after being suspected of wrongly using personal service companies to minimise their tax bills, HMRC has revealed.

A “very significant number of BBC news presenters” – as well as a number of staff at other broadcasters – face demands to hand over unpaid tax and national insurance contributions after HMRC launched a probe into whether stars had incorrectly declared themselves to be self-employed.

The BBC announced in July that it had moved 85 presenters onto its books as full-time employees, after a report published in 2012 found that the corporation paid more than 124 stars in excess of £150,000 a year via personal service companies.

Source: More than 100 BBC stars facing tax avoidance inquiry, HMRC reveals

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POLL: Are John McDonnell’s plans to revolutionise the economy feasible?

The shadow chancellor is planning to revolutionise the financial sector.

Take a look at the video in John McDonnell’s tweet, below:

Mr McDonnell rightly states that the finance sector should be the servant of the nation’s economy, not its master – that its responsibility is to generate the wealth we need to pay for the advances we want – and I hope nobody reading this would disagree.

He goes on to make several suggestions about how to make this happen – a financial transactions (“Robin Hood”) tax and tackling tax evasion are top of the list.

But will his ideas work? Let’s have a poll.

I would appreciate your detailed opinions as well – please send them in as comments.

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POLL: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has admitted a criminal offence. What should be done with him?

Smirking: Yet again, Jeremy Hunt seems to have got away with it.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is a criminal.

He may never go to prison for his offence because he is a Conservative cabinet member and that means corruption – but we can all see the truth of it.

Hunt bought seven luxury flats in Southampton with his wife – they acted as a company called Mare Pond Properties – then failed to notify the Register of Members’ Interests in Parliament within the required 28-day period, or Companies House. When the registration documents were filed in September 2017 only his wife was named, constituting a breach of regulations. His failure to declare his interest to Companies House is a criminal offence. It took him months to rectify these omissions.

According to The Guardian, “He also breached the Companies Act, which requires anyone with more than 25 per cent control of a company to be declared ‘a person with significant control’. The act was introduced by David Cameron’s government in 2015 to tackle money laundering and came into force the following year.”

Hunt says these were genuine errors – an “honest mistake”.

His spokesperson said Hunt notified the Cabinet Office in good time but did not realise he was supposed to register the holdings with the other organisations.

Do you believe that? Even if you do, does it make a difference?

They are indeed. In addition to the new offences against money-laundering legislation, Mr Hunt is also a tax dodger, having avoided £100,000 in tax in 2010, days before a 10 per cent rise in the tax on dividends in April 2010.

Let’s let the Telegraph, of all periodicals, explain:

“[Mr Hunt] and his business partner, Mike Elms, transferred ownership of their company’s office building in Hammersmith into their own names in April 2010, just before the tax rate for the transaction rose to 42.5 per cent. They then leased the property back to Hotcourses, their jointly owned education company, for 10 years.

“By paying themselves the building as a dividend before the change in tax rules, the two men saved themselves an income tax bill of £202,000 on the £1.8 million deal, by paying tax on it at the rate of 32.5 per cent. The company now pays them £60,750 a year in rent. No stamp duty was payable on the property, which at the time would have been 4 per cent.”

Nauseating.

The Tory government is adamant that there is nothing to be done about this. Hunt has apologised and the matter is closed.

Shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett disagrees. He has referred the case to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. He said: “Faith in politics and politicians is at a historic low. Any minister flouting the rules designed to prevent big financial interests corrupting politics must be held to account, especially when that minister’s own government introduced the rules.”

What do you think, though?


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No prosecutions: Were Tory tax evasion laws to protect their friends rather than prosecute OUR enemies?

Draw your own conclusions from this report by Left Foot Forward:

Not a single person has been jailed or even prosecuted for tax evasion since the Tories brought in what they claimed were “tough” new measures against tax dodgers, it was shown today.

Two new laws criminalising corporate tax evasion came into force last September, but not a single person has faced prosecution, it’s been revealed, despite tax dodging amounting to at least £7bn last year alone.

Responding to a written question, Mel Stride, Secretary to the Treasury admitted:

“To date no prosecutions have been either brought to court or completed under the ‘failure to prevent the facilitation of UK and foreign tax evasion’ clause of the Criminal Finances Act 2017.”

And it was revealed in February that the Tories’ tax avoidance measures since 2010 are raising billions less than the amounts first promised.

Source: Revealed: not a single person has been prosecuted under the Tories’ offshore tax evasion laws | Left Foot Forward


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Is HMRC ‘struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak’ because staff numbers have been cut too far?

Isn’t it interesting – some would say fortunate for the Conservatives and their tax avoiding friends – that HM Revenue and Customs don’t seem to have enough staff and resources to investigate the Paradise Papers revelations properly?

The Tories have been cutting Civil Service number wholesale since they came into office in 2010. As the graph (above) shows, the number of staff in HMRC was cut by one-third between 2005 and 2014. It should be admitted that New Labour was in office for the first five years of this period.

Current staffing at HMRC is 60,579, according to UK government figures.

Those staff members are implementing Brexit changes and 15 major programmes already – and must now attempt to add investigating the facts in the Paradise Papers to their duties.

Is it too much?

If the workload is too great, HMRC bosses must face the possibilities that mistakes will be made – unless they decide to concentrate on some projects and exclude others, or take on more staff.

This Writer would suggest that a Tory government is unlikely to take on any more staff!

And no minister would want to admit having pushed ahead with projects, knowing that they were likely to be flawed.

That leaves us with the possibility that some projects will be dropped.

Will the Tories want to drop programmes it has initiated? This seems unlikely.

But shelving an investigation that involves 13.4 million files? Into tax avoidance?

Let us be honest: Tories resent the national assumption that the rich must pay taxes along with everyone else – and must put a higher proportion of their earnings towards those taxes. They assume the poor are more likely to use publicly-funded services, and should therefore pay for them; if those services prove too expensive, then the poor should do without them.

It is an assumption that avoids inconvenient truths, like the fact that we all use some publicly-provided services – rich and poor alike. Our network of public roads is an example that springs to mind.

So it seems likely – to me – that the Tories will find it very easy to delay – perhaps forever – any investigation into tax avoidance, especially one that could implicate members of the Conservative Party, donors to the Conservative Party, or others whose exposure would prove an embarrassment to the Conservative government.

Time will tell if I am proved correct.

HM Revenue and Customs is struggling to cope with a growing workload, including investigating revelations contained within the Paradise Papers, according to parliament’s spending watchdog.

The public accounts committee has warned that it is “far from confident” that the tax authority has sufficient resources to scrutinise claims published in the Guardian last year arising from a leak of 13.4m files.

In a report released on Thursday, MPs concluded that the Paradise Papers leak had highlighted the “potentially dubious practices of many high-profile individuals and corporations” that use offshore tax havens.

The committee said the tax authority was having to make tough decisions about the allocation of its own resources, while implementing Brexit changes and 15 major programmes across government.

The tax authority has until April to outline how it plans to cope with the growing pressures on HMRC.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the committee, said that HMRC’s “high-wire act” is facing “potentially catastrophic consequences” for taking on too many tasks at the same time.”

She added: “HMRC accepts something has to give and it now faces difficult decisions on how best to use its limited resources – decisions that must give full consideration to the needs of all taxpayers.”

Source: HMRC ‘struggling to deal with fallout of Paradise Papers leak’ | Politics | The Guardian


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Lewis Hamilton hammered for making charity appeal while avoiding tax. But is he the worst offender?

Lord Ashcroft hid in a toilet to avoid answering allegations of tax avoidance. How many other shadowy businesspeople are keeping their heads down in similar ways?

Lewis Hamilton should have known: You can’t avoid paying tax on your private plane and expect people to praise you for asking other people to give.

It is therefore no surprise that his support for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal garnered this response:

https://twitter.com/AbiWilks/status/931873303572156418

He has also been supporting other efforts to attack poverty:

https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton/status/931186816010604544

But here’s the thing:

And that’s exactly the point. By avoiding his tax obligation, Mr Hamilton – the UK’s highest-paid sportsman, unless I’ve been misinformed – is depriving the state of the cash necessary to fund schemes that would help lift children out of poverty, in a way that charities simply can’t achieve.

Of course, there are alternatives to harsh criticism:

And of course, Lewis Hamilton isn’t the only tax avoider in the UK.

We know about him because reporters on the BBC’s Panorama knew that he is a big name that would attract interest.

What about the really serious offenders? These are the businesspeople who make a career out of cheating the nation out of their tax obligation.

It might be legal, but it sure isn’t moral.

Lord Ashcroft was the token businessperson mentioned by Panorama, but there are plenty more – and they deprive us of billions.

Who are they?


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