We should all rage at how HMRC picks on the little people while doing cosy deals with the super rich
By ALEX BRUMMER
13 February 2015
As someone who was subjected last year to an HMRC inspection of my tax affairs, I could not be more outraged at the revelations that some of the wealthiest people in Britain have been engaging in tax avoidance on a vast scale by exploiting the secrecy offered by HSBC’s Swiss private bank.
Labour, on whose watch most of this scandal occurred, have demanded to know whether David Cameron interrogated Stephen Green — the former HSBC chairman, who was in charge of the Swiss operation — when he granted him a peerage and a job as Trade Minister.
Meanwhile, Ed Miliband — who as the Mail reports today has, with his brother, pursued lucrative tax avoidance strategies — is trying to start a new class war by throwing rocks at rich Tory donors such as ‘philanthropist’ Lord Fink, whose name appears on the list of clients in Switzerland.
But even in the clumsy hands of the Labour leader, the spectacle of the Tories as friends and protectors of the super-rich and, by extension, tax avoiders, is hugely toxic. That’s why the timing of this week’s Tory Black & White fundraising ball — packed to the rafters with secretive millionaire hedge funders — could not have been worse.
For in the real world, millions of ordinary taxpayers will be quaking with rage that in Britain there is now one law for the super-rich, and one for the rest of us.
Indeed, as the next government — whoever it is — is forced to make even more swingeing cuts, this injustice will, I believe, seriously threaten social cohesion.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2951763/ALEX-BRUMMER-rage-HMRC-Gestapo-pick-little-people-doing-cosy-deals-super-rich.html#ixzz3RjR4nOVu
The aptly named Lord Fink, when rumbled as a tax avoider, says ‘Everyone does it’. I know tax avoidance is legal – it’s tax evasion that’s illegal. But this cop-out of ‘everyone does it’ is exactly what every criminal says to try to extenuate their guilt when they are caught.
And with HMRC admitting that it has chosen not to prosecute scores of big fish for tax evasion, while ruthlessly pursuing the small fry, it does seem that, as F Scott Fitzgerald said, ‘the rich are different’ – they don’t pay their taxes like the rest of us.
Patria will give HMRC the resources and leadership necessary for it to do its job more effectively. The rich must be made to pay their fair share of tax. And where there is clear evidence of wrongdoing they should be prosecuted. The loopholes that enable wealthy individuals and multinational corporations to avoid paying tax in Britain must be closed.
Patria is the one and only party with both the courage and the intelligence to put our people first.
To save the country for your grandchildren: Vote Patria on 7 May!