In the light of recent high-profile tax-avoidance revelations, it’s a little surprising and rather disappointing that a mind-set persists which feels that we ought to be grateful for whatever tax the rich deign to pay into our system, insisting that we mustn’t be too demanding of them – by, for example, hiking tax rates up – lest they should choose to avoid or evade it altogether. Surely the mark of a civilised society is that everybody contributes according to their ability, not merely according to their inclination?
Of course, this strikes at the true heart of the matter: never mind quibbling over the rate of tax charged, why don’t we ensure that what’s due is actually collected? The practice of deviously and deceitfully hiding money offshore to avoid making a fair contribution is utterly abhorrent (especially in these straitened times), whether it be by popular comedians, seemingly much-loved musicians or faceless corporate bodies – particularly those with names that might seem to deliberately imply that they are taxed here (those containing the words “British Home”, to take an example entirely at random).
Perhaps it would serve well if personalities, brand names and companies had a badge of accreditation that they could wear with pride: ‘Taxed in Britain’. That way, we ordinary plebs, who have no choice as to whether we pay tax or not, could at least choose who we give our patronage to.