John Mills, Tax and Dishonesty

June 7, 2013

On the issue of taxation abuse, we need to move on from the oversimplified distinction between legal avoidance and illegal evasion.

At the moment some avoidance has shocked people, while other avoidance, such as my tax free savings, is not such an abuse. In order to sort out the difference between good and bad avoidance, I suggest people concern themselves with whether the avoidance was dishonest or not.

In the case of George Osborne’s complaint about a Labour donation, we need to ask, was John Mills dishonest in his method of avoiding tax in this donation? If he was, then Labour is in trouble, if he wasn’t then we are not. Mr Mills chose not to sell the £1.5m of shares and give the cash to Labour, as that would have been taxed as a capital gain. By giving Labour the shares, then Labour will be taxed on the dividends, but only liable to the capital gains if they are sold.
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All Equal in the Eyes of the Law (except Barclays)

June 30, 2012

It is a long standing principle that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. However, this principle has been forgotten in recent years, as successive governments have sought to be friendly to business, without making the distinction between freedom of enterprise, and the commission of criminal acts.
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How Cameron can beat Miliband in 2015

June 26, 2012

According to YouGov, David Cameron’s approval rating has shifted from -25 to -18 over the period of the recent tax avoidance story. This improvement flies in the face of the media view that Cameron would suffer the charge of hypocrisy for condemning Jimmy Carr, when so many Tory donors are guilty of the same.

It now seems that Cameron was in touch with the public mood. The media taunts on Cameron’s hypocrisy have served little other than to highlight the Prime Minister’s intervention, while swatting Ed Miliband into the shadows and out of public glare. The crackdown on tax avoidance is now a Tory issue to be grabbed, while Miliband has so far been uninspired on a territory that the public would expect to be owned by Labour.
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Arrest Jimmy Carr!

June 21, 2012

Arrest Jimmy Carr!

It’s time to stop messing around on this one. Jimmy Carr wasn’t doing tax avoidance, that’s when you put money in an ISA. What he was doing was tax evasion, that’s when you dishonestly avoid paying the tax that you owe.

He put his money in an account of a company in the tax haven of Jersey and then had that company pay him his money back in a loan. He said he didn’t need to pay tax on that because it was a loan. I say that’s a big lie.

The reason he tried his luck in this way is because the Inland Revenue have traditionally been frightened of scaring off wealthy people by being too aggressive. So the wealthy use these dodgy schemes, and then when the IR come to speak to investigate, the wealthy negotiate how much they’re going to pay in tax.
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