It seems that Joey Jones is perhaps the most sensible (and liberal) member of the political-media elite today. You all know what he was talking about, but before watching the video of him, read what was actually said by Mr Gauke.
Guido has the quote:
Legitimate use of reliefs, for example taking out a tax-free ISA, is not tax avoidance. Buying a house for personal use through a company to avoid stamp duty, on the other hand, clearly is. Morally repugnant practices such as this are where the Government is cracking down.
There are a couple of serious problems here.
The first is that Gauke is uttering blatant nonesense. If I wanted to avoid a person, such as Mr Gauke, then I would try to spend less time with him. Finding his contadictions and arrogance unappealing I would not seek out his opinion, not share a table with him at lunch, nor go near his constituency. Unfortunately, I have spent the best part of this year working just inside the boundary of Mr Gauke’s constituency so nothing is perfect, but at least I didn’t need to actually meet him. This is what avoiding means, it means experiencing less of something. If I want to avoid tax, a perfectly effective means of doing so would be to take out an ISA, indeed I have done. Other people might claim a tax relief on an environmental investment, or research and development costs, or on buying postage stamps for the office from the sacred Royal Mail, they might tick the box for Gift Aid, or take part in any other do-gooding scheme. All of those things are equally tax avoidance. If you do them you are bound to experience less tax and use more of your money the way you wanted to. That is the whole point in many cases. Mr Gauke seems smart enough to understand this, but is clearly too full of something, righteousness perhaps, to think clearly and express his beliefs accurately.
The next big problem, is that if all these things are fine to do, and Mr Gauke says that they are, and if they all have the same consequence of the Government gettting less money, then what is it about them that makes them okay and offshore bank accounts “aggressive”?
Nothing. That’s the correct answer, because both are in fact fine. The incorrect answer, which I’m sure Mr Gauke would give some version of is that the Government is responsible for balancing many competing priorities and encouraging people to save, or waste, or give away their money is important as well for some reason that they have decided upon. Thier arrogance is that they assume they know best, and so much better than you that you barely have a say.
This is where Joey Jones hit the nail on the head. Many people will indeed dislike the Goverment “dictating to me how I run my life, or how I use my cash”, though I haven’t seen anyone but Joey actually saying so. Even Guido fails to pick that up and instead calls Gauke a hyprocrite, citing some redundant facts, but not challenging the idea of tax. I assume this is Joey’s opinion, and if it is then good on him.
In fact, take a look at what Telegraph readers are saying:
An online poll for Telegraph.co.uk found that nearly three-quarters of those who responded admitted to paying cash-in-hand, and saw nothing wrong with it.
Another 16 per cent confessed that they did but felt that they “probably shouldn’t,” while nearly 10 per cent agreed with Mr Gauke that it was “morally wrong”.
It seems the Telegraph have their heads screwed on properly, if only our arrogant elites were more like them, but notice there is no figure for how many felt paying cash was morally good. I assume there was no option to say you though tax avoidance was good, the libertarian position is rarely represented in polls, but of course tax avoidance is good. We all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that means our lives, our liberty and our choice of a path to happiness – as individiuals. It is not tax avoidance that is aggressive, but tax taking, which is supported by the implicit threat of imprisonment or conflict. It is not imorral to avoid tax becuase it makes “others pay more tax”, since it is not the tax avoider that is initiating or sanctioning the use of force. On that score, timid tax payers have almost as much to answer for as Mr Gauke.
Please, don’t feed the animals.