Monday, May 12, 2008

When in Rome

Michael Meacher, in the Guardian, writes an article describing all tax avoidance (ie: legal techniques designed to minimise your total tax hit) as "legal but immoral". Two brief points here. Tax avoidance as an individual is not only not immoral, it is encouraged by the Government. What is an ISA but a form of tax planning? What is contributing to your pension if not a form of tax planning? How is any of this immoral? Tax avoidance by a company would, one would have thought, come very clse to being a fiduciary duty for the directors - if by a legal and common method a director can reduce his company's tax bill then he would be remiss if he did not.
The second point is that Mr Meacher has picked a strange medium for his message. The Guardian, after all, is currently involved in libel litigation against Tesco's after it described precisely the sort of tax planning that Meacher decries as being an immoral tax steal of £1bn. Shortly before it was revealed that the Guardian does precisely the same thing itself.

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