The comedian Jimmy Carr’s admission to using a tax avoidance scheme has defiantly caused a divide in opinions.
Over a series of tweets Jimmy said, “I met with a financial advisor and he said to me ‘Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal’. I said ‘Yes‘.” Obviously! Is that not what anyone would do given the chance?! People complain about taxes being too high all of the time, so surely would jump at the chance to pay significantly less. So after seeing numerous updates from on Facebook and twitter I felt it would be an interesting discussion point.
Now I am not claiming to know the ins and outs of complicated tax issues, and how to avoid them, but there’s a lot of information and opinions out there. The first opinion on the subject that I found interesting yesterday was David Cameron’s of it being ‘morally wrong’, yet when asked to comment about Gary Barlow’s tax activities he said “I am not going to give a running commentary on different people’s tax affairs.” It’s certainly interesting to see the possible reasons why, maybe because Gary is a conservative supporter or because “I made an exception yesterday [with Carr] because it was a very specific case where the details seemed to have been published?”
In years gone by all manner of companies and celebrities have been found to have been avoiding tax, and it always comes down to what people feel is morally right or acceptable. People attack companies who hold off-shore bank accounts, or have headquarters in tax havens saying that “they are costing the tax payer x amount”. But there’s a reason why such companies became so successful right? For being savvy and not always being completely ‘morally’ right?
Instead of the argument of this activity being moral or not, shouldn’t people be looking to the fact that is activity is perfectly legal, and people are well within their rights to take part in such activities. I think that that’s the real problem. The Government should just be better at closing the most effective loopholes and avoid (sorry couldn’t resist) highlighting individuals tax affairs.