David Prosser: Down to the Treasury to close tax loopholes
Saturday 11 December 2010
Outlook: There is much to admire about the campaign group UKuncut, which has grown into a formidable protest movement within a few months of its launch. Its direct action has had a real impact, closing branches of Top Shop and Vodafone. It has also been completely peaceful. There will no doubt be further protests today, as the group's appeal to "citizen volunteers" gains support, and next Saturday it plans a nationwide day of action.
Just one criticism, however. What does UKuncut actually want? Its mission statement is "to make wealthy tax avoiders pay", but the group doesn't explain exactly what that means.
Most people find it distasteful when they discover large companies have saved millions, even billions, by organising their tax affairs in the most efficient manner possible. But the truth is that many of us do the same, in our own small way. Married couples put savings in the name of the spouse who pays the least tax. Families organise trusts to minimise inheritance tax bills. We claim donations to charity against tax, or we embrace tax breaks such as pension relief or childcare vouchers. Some of us even pay accountants to make sure we're avoiding as much tax as possible.
None of this is illegal. Some of it is positively encouraged by specific schemes and reliefs. It is still tax avoidance, just on a smaller scale. This is not to say UKuncut is misguided in targeting corporates that appear to have avoided more tax than most. But if it expects big business to start paying more tax than it needs to, it will be sorely disappointed. The onus is on the Treasury to close the loopholes.
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 How much sex should I be having?
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...
£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...
£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...