Friday, 22 June 2012

Carr Tax

The 'outrage' over Jimmy Carr's tax affairs has been rather amusing. On one level much fun can be had seeing a lefty comic, who only makes jokes about the 'right kind' of minorities, squirm as he gets caught out.

Now if ever there was a story that resembled to politicians an oversized can with the label 'worms, do not open' this was it. So while Downing Street initially told journalists that the Government does not normally comment on the tax affairs of individuals, Cameron in Mexico City had other ideas, and in with both feet he went:
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the tax arrangements of comedian Jimmy Carr are "morally wrong".
Good ol' populist stuff...which inevitable would mean the papers would investigate others close to the PM. And as a result he's now having to beat a hasty retreat:
David Cameron was in full retreat over his condemnation of celebrity tax avoiders last night, following warnings that his attack on Jimmy Carr could open a Pandora’s Box.

The Prime Minister refused to criticise the tax affairs of Take That star Gary Barlow, despite allegations that the singer was involved in a similar scheme to the one Carr used to cut his liabilities.
And the man is supposed to specialise in PR?

Then of course there's the outrage in the comments. One wonders how many of them have paid builders cash-in-hand thus avoiding VAT, and not declared it. A practice, unlike Carr, is not avoidance but evasion and so entirely illegal....

3 comments:

  1. I'm not sure about the VAT thing and paying builders in cash. If you don't have a receipt (which obviously the builder wouldn't give you as he's not declaring the cash) you are complicit in tax evasion, which is illegal. So you could be said to be aiding and abetting a crime.

    Now I don't think that anyone has ever been convicted of such a thing, so its a moot point. But anyone indulging in such payments is IMO in more murky moral waters than Jimmy Carr. His scheme is legal (as far as we know at the moment), whereas not charging VAT for cash payments definitely isn't. So anyone has paid cash in hand for work done has to be seen as 'morally wrong', by Cameron's criteria.

    Perhaps someone should ask him at the next press conference what his views on such things are.

    I find this whole episode very instructive. After the initial 'oh what a hypocritical b*stard' bit, its been interesting to see that peoples reactions have been more along the lines of 'well if I could do the same I would'. Which I see as evidence that feelings about high rates of tax are only just below the surface, and run very deep.

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  2. @Jim, Cash-in-hand is certainly a transaction that both parties know is to avoid tax - potentially illegally. Not that I necessarily condemn such action - VAT in my view, as an EU tax, is a case of taxation without representation so is an illegal tax anyway.

    I do agree with your points, particularly the reactions that basically no-one should avoid tax unless of course it applies to oneself.

    No doubt on Cameron's criteria the vast majority of people are 'morally wrong', but then I'm not sure MPs (whisper it quietly - expenses) are the right people to argue it.

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  3. Tarka the Rotter22 June 2012 22:37

    No...it's morally wrong for taxpayer's money to be spent on weapons that have been used, under the guise of democracy, to wreak carnage on innocent civilian populations in Iraq, Afghanistant, Libya and currently in Syria: its morally wrong for the British Government to fund islamic terrorist organisations which are used to topple nationalist regimes the govt, doesn't like...no politician can tell anybody else that what they are doing is morally wrong...

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