The Guardian March 14 2009 Switzerland’s decision yesterday (Friday) to play by international tax rules is the result of a great deal of political arm-twisting aided by the sting of scandal. The long struggle to persuade the Swiss to abandon their bank secrecy is not yet over. There is still plenty of room for foot-dragging […]
Stories categorized “Tax and the rich”:
The Guardian March 2009 Offshore havens who refuse to hand over information on tax dodgers face an unprecedented campaign of economic sanctions by the world’s most powerful countries. The campaign, which is being promoted by the G20 group of developed nations, could see the United Kingdom targeting some of its own overseas territories including the […]
The Guardian February 2009 A hoard of banking files from the Caymans – one of the most secretive British tax havens – is being supplied to the US authorities by a whistleblower who claims they detail worldwide tax avoidance. The Cayman Islands – Caribbean territories under ultimate UK control – are currently the target of […]
The Guardian February 2009 Critics of Switzerland would say that the country and its banks are running an anti-social enterprise, in effect picking billions of dollars a year out of the pockets of others. It was the spectre of Switzerland that Britain’s prime minister, Gordon Brown, sought to raise in parliament yesterday, as he attempted […]
The Guardian, April 2006 Written with Rob Evans Hans Rausing, the Swedish billionaire whose tax arrangements were revealed by the Guardian, is among scores of foreign citizens awarded official honours in the last year. Rausing, former head of Tetra Pak, who has lived in England since 1982, was awarded an honorary knighthood in January. Four […]
Wealthy foreigners in the UK are celebrating a first-round victory in their battle to stop Gordon Brown closing the non-domicile tax loophole which allows them to avoid paying millions of pounds in UK tax each year.
Let us get to the truth.
The two thousand largest corporations in Britain are being allowed to cut corners in tax law and to escape Inland Revenue penalties as part of the government’s efforts to produce a business-friendly environment.
Imagine a gamekeeper sending a letter to the local poachers, telling them that, in future, he would like to support their activities: he would trust them not to shoot the pheasants and he would invite them to regular meetings so that he could take their advice on how he should handle them and, in the meantime, he would ask his staff to consider the genuine needs of poachers alongside those of the landord. Imagine the gamekeeper declaring finally that his ambition was to become the poachers’ champion.
November 1996. Budget day. The chancellor of the exchequer, Kenneth Clarke, is in bullish mood. He is going to crack down on tax fraud and tax loopholes, he says. And, in particular, he is going to crack down on big businesses which cheat the Inland Revenue. “Tax experts will be redeployed to investigate even more rigorously how some big, sophisticated companies seem to pay so little tax,” he thunders. And he means it.