The UK General Politics Thread Page 123

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  • spamdangled 16 Sep 2013 17:58:57 27,269 posts
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    glaeken wrote:
    mowgli wrote:
    I know that. But there is no benefit fraud that warrants a 10 year sentence.
    There have been some major fraudsters who have gotten away with say 100,000 or so over a number of years have there not? Tricky to find any cites for that without going to the Daily mail but I am sure I remember such cases. Of course these were people who set out to scam for all it was worth and are really career criminals.
    There are (and actually for far more than that - some fraudsters have gotten away with over a million somehow, though fuck knows how).
    The question that I think needs to be asked is whether the court and admin cost of around 65,000 plus the additional cost of around 40-50k per year of trialling and then imprisoning someone can really be justified except in the most egregious cases of fraud (which are a very, very tiny minority of the already tiny estimated 1% of fraudulent or undeserving claimants), particularly when prisons are already severely overcrowded and far more serious crimes get away with little more than community service and suspended sentences, or early release after just a fraction of the original sentences. Not to mention that billions are lost each year in tax avoidance, which would bring in far more revenue to the government if they ever bothered to seriously tackle it.

    Edited by darkmorgado at 20:47:11 16-09-2013

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  • spamdangled 16 Sep 2013 20:46:42 27,269 posts
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    Tonight's Panorama has already been making waves I see.

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  • Bremenacht 16 Sep 2013 22:17:34 17,613 posts
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    Was it the tax-dodgers one, or something else?
  • spamdangled 16 Sep 2013 23:08:24 27,269 posts
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    Bremenacht wrote:
    Was it the tax-dodgers one, or something else?
    Pretty much the tax-dodgers one. The guy who was hired by the government to help shape tax policy, who was hosting talks teaching people how to avoid tax on the side (he's since "resigned" since Panorama presented their evidence to the government, after he initially denied doing anything wrong). There was a fair bit of other stuff as well around HMRC potentially misleading parliament and a few other things.

    Well worth watching.

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  • LeoliansBro 16 Sep 2013 23:11:39 43,227 posts
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    So did anyone do anything illegal?

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Bremenacht 16 Sep 2013 23:23:59 17,613 posts
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    If it's the story I'm thinking of, then no. But, legality has little to do with it.

    If you could rob people without technically breaking any law, would that make it Ok?
  • TheRealBadabing 16 Sep 2013 23:47:59 1,283 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    So did anyone do anything illegal?
    Probably not but that's hardly surprising since the politicians who make the laws happen to be financed by the very people who benefit most from all those convenient loopholes.

    Might not be illegal but it is one of the more odious symptoms of a morally bankrupt system.
  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 00:30:23 43,227 posts
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    Bremenacht: I hear what you're saying but don't confuse immoral behaviour with illegal behaviour. Only the latter puts you in prison.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • spamdangled 17 Sep 2013 00:39:38 27,269 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    Bremenacht: I hear what you're saying but don't confuse immoral behaviour with illegal behaviour. Only the latter puts you in prison.
    Bear in mind the bloke in question was advising the courts, HMRC and government on tax matters - both policy, pursuing evaders/avoiders, recovering unpaid tax, enforcing existing law in courts and helping to shape future law.

    That's where the problem is. He was employed by government to help them deal with tax avoidance and evasion, and was also on the side deliberately using that position and influence to work against government and help the tax dodgers.

    As to whether or not any laws have been broken, well it's really too early to tell, isn't it? At the very least they should (and expect will) be an investigation, including members of HMRC pulled up before committee. Given that one of the most promininent members of the relevant committee was part of the programme, I find it highly unlikely that nothing will happen as a consequence of this. I'd say there are questions of legality around things such as potential corruption, abusing public office for personal financial gain (he was using his insider knowledge to provide expensive talks to tax dodgers and corporations), potentially misleading/lying to government, etc etc.

    Edited by darkmorgado at 00:47:55 17-09-2013

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  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 08:16:57 43,227 posts
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    The only conflict is that, as an adviser on tax avoidance, he was also in a position to influence future laws on the subject, potentially to the benefit of those with the more sophisticated tax structures. And even that is the Government's call, not his. I doubt his pro-business stance was totally unknown to those he advised.

    Also dm, try not to throw around technical terms as if they are interchangeable. Tax evasion is illegal, where you do not pay tax due to understating income etc. Tax avoidance, where you take advantage of legal tax breaks and structures available to all, is not. I have absolutely no problem with the latter, and would love to hear (again) the reasons of those who have.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Grax 17 Sep 2013 08:21:40 1,758 posts
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    @LeoliansBro I think people's issue with tax avoidance is they can't do it.
  • Dougs 17 Sep 2013 08:30:45 66,671 posts
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    Or rather, not in a position to do so. Most (I'm assuming) people are PAYE, and that's it.
  • Grax 17 Sep 2013 08:37:12 1,758 posts
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    Dougs wrote:
    Or rather, not in a position to do so. Most (I'm assuming) people are PAYE, and that's it.
    Yeah that's what I meant Im too tired lol
  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 08:51:27 43,227 posts
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    It's not quite fair to say that. It's a bit like saying Ferraris shouldn't exist because most people can't afford one.

    I take your point that the hassle of setting yourself up in a tax efficient structure isn't worth it for all but the wealthy, though.

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • Grax 17 Sep 2013 09:11:39 1,758 posts
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    I
  • spamdangled 17 Sep 2013 09:19:25 27,269 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    The only conflict is that, as an adviser on tax avoidance, he was also in a position to influence future laws on the subject, potentially to the benefit of those with the more sophisticated tax structures. And even that is the Government's call, not his. I doubt his pro-business stance was totally unknown to those he advised.

    Also dm, try not to throw around technical terms as if they are interchangeable. Tax evasion is illegal, where you do not pay tax due to understating income etc. Tax avoidance, where you take advantage of legal tax breaks and structures available to all, is not. I have absolutely no problem with the latter, and would love to hear (again) the reasons of those who have.
    I'm aware of that, but government is cracking down a far bit on the former as well - look at Amazon.

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  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 09:20:52 43,227 posts
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    How are their efforts to crack down on Amazon (a Luxembourg company with warehouses in the UK) going?

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • spamdangled 17 Sep 2013 09:22:24 27,269 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    How are their efforts to crack down on Amazon (a Luxembourg company with warehouses in the UK) going?
    You know exactly what I meant. And you also know full well why people disapprove of tax avoidance, and also that it's largely abusing the letter the law while staying well outside the spirit of it.

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  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 09:26:17 43,227 posts
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    So we're back to it being morally questionable, but not illegal.

    Edit: Also there's a sense of hypocrisy about criticising those who take advantage of tax efficient schemes. Does anyone here pay a single penny more tax than they have to? No?

    Same as them then, they've just gone about it with more care. All you're left with is a sense that these people 'should' pay more.

    Edited by LeoliansBro at 09:31:36 17-09-2013

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • spamdangled 17 Sep 2013 09:32:50 27,269 posts
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    I wouldn't even say it's "questionable". It's immoral and dodging social responsibility. To try and reduce the public anger around it to pure jealously is disingenuous.

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  • TheSaint 17 Sep 2013 09:34:30 14,200 posts
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    Is an ISA immoral as well?
  • spamdangled 17 Sep 2013 09:36:38 27,269 posts
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    ISAs were deliberately created by government to help people save. Not even remotely comparable.

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  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 09:38:31 43,227 posts
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    It isn't dodging social responsibility. By placing yourself or your business in a different jurisdiction you have decided that your social responsibility is with that country, not the UK.

    Oh, but what about education etc etc? You 'owe' the UK, right? Well that kind of puts the kybosh on any kind of migration, or should people be beholden to the country of their birth for the rest of their lives? So if I lived and worked in the US for 20 years at the end of that I'd still be paying tax to the UK because that's where I got my A levels?

    There is imbalance but it is due to public awareness of what can be done, not deliberate policy. And there is certainly a fair slug of social jealousy. it is a lot easier to bleat about how easy the wealthy have it and how you should be entitled to some of that, than to work for yourself.

    Edited by LeoliansBro at 09:39:42 17-09-2013

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • LeoliansBro 17 Sep 2013 09:39:03 43,227 posts
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    darkmorgado wrote:
    ISAs were deliberately created by government to help people save. Not even remotely comparable.
    ISAs avoid tax. Directly comparable, the only difference is scale.

    Edited by LeoliansBro at 09:39:14 17-09-2013

    LB, you really are a massive geek.

  • nickthegun 17 Sep 2013 09:41:42 58,784 posts
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    Grax wrote:
    @LeoliansBro I think people's issue with tax avoidance is they can't do it.
    I think that is probably quite true. The more money you have, the easier it is to avoid tax. Certainly i would do it if I could/it was worth it.

    I even hear adverts on the radio for creative accounting firms now.

    ---------------------------------------------------------
    He totally called it

  • Dougs 17 Sep 2013 09:49:21 66,671 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    I take your point that the hassle of setting yourself up in a tax efficient structure isn't worth it for all but the wealthy, though.
    Yeah, exactly. Or those with multiple revenue streams. I've looked at it myself to see if there were advantages being a home worker for much of the week, but there are so many variables (home insurance would go up, but you might be able to claim some stuff back for heating, bills etc), it's just not worth it. Might be something I have to look at again given the changes to child benefit though.
  • Grax 17 Sep 2013 09:50:19 1,758 posts
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    On the amazon point, the government see them dodging corporation tax as the lesser of two evils as they bring alot more money through VAT national insurance and the income tax they pay for their 43K of employees.

    What they are doing is immoral but not illegal and they won't be pulled up on it by anyone other then the media (the pubic make a big song and dance over it but they still purchase their stuff from there anyway)
  • Mr_Sleep 17 Sep 2013 11:28:55 16,845 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    There is imbalance but it is due to public awareness of what can be done, not deliberate policy.
    One of the points that was made in the documentary is that the new legislation has actually worked against their stated aims in regards of tax avoidance, Cameron has made various appeasing statements around trying to stop the practice but their policies are going against those statements. I think it's fair to call the government to task on this behaviour. Either it's incompetence or there is something more pernicious at work but there needs to be some insight into exactly what is happening.


    And there is certainly a fair slug of social jealousy. it is a lot easier to bleat about how easy the wealthy have it and how you should be entitled to some of that, than to work for yourself.
    I think this is a bit of a disingenuous point, I'm sure there is an element of jealousy involved but considering that the civil service, education and the NHS are paid for via taxes and those people in many cases work just as hard as anyone (and service the people who are then avoiding tax) then it's not just a case of putting in more effort or working harder for those people.

    You are a factory of sadness.

  • RedSparrows 17 Sep 2013 11:36:12 22,031 posts
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    It's not jealousy that fires my contempt of people who avoid tax, although of course I'd like a big wadge of cash. It's distaste that they feel they can live, in a sense, outside the social system that everyone else pays into, and benefits from. I'd be fine if they lived entirely outside that system.

    I realise this isn't entirely rational, but it makes me angry.
  • RedSparrows 17 Sep 2013 11:37:41 22,031 posts
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    LeoliansBro wrote:
    It isn't dodging social responsibility. By placing yourself or your business in a different jurisdiction you have decided that your social responsibility is with that country, not the UK.
    So these people care for the Cayman Islands that much? It's nothing to do with social responsibility.
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